You know what I love?
I know, I know—everyone does. But I have a slightly unhealthy love for them. In fact, growing up, my room looked like a Mexican restaurant strung with every colored Christmas light known to man.
I never really knew the full reason why I loved them so much until I had the opportunity to talk to the sweetest old man to walk the face of the planet.
His name was Melvin and his house is the place to be leading up to Christmas! Every inch of ground is covered with some type of Christmas inflatable or lit-up structure, lights are themed to “Jingle Bells” which you can play on your radio as your ride along and Melvin sits out front every single day with a Santa hat on, greeting people as they ride by.
While I was impressed with his light collection, it was far more the joy that Melvin possessed that had me utterly intrigued when I first shook his hand.
And so I asked him as I looked around at his Christmas Paradise:
“Melvin, why do you do this every year?”
(That was my way of saying, “What makes the electricity bill, the work it takes and untangling THAT many extension cords worth it?!?!”)
And without hesitation, he replied, “Because people come here and they, even for just a few seconds, forget about the problems that they came here with. You see their faces light up with joy as they watch the lights twinkle and I think in those moments, Jesus reminds them what Christmas is really about.”
And that was it.
I think he answered my own question of why I love Christmas lights so much.
Why I feel as though they are far more than a Christmas spectacle but rather a Christmas necessity and reminder: What is your focus this Christmas season?
Are you able to retreat from the distractions and remain in the moment to enjoy the present?
Are you focusing on cleanliness of your house and the number of presents underneath the tree rather than the conversation you’re having when your loved ones come to visit?
Are the things on your to-do list consuming your mind and stealing your joy, making this a season of obligation and expectation rather than simply “being” and remembering what your Savior has done for you?
Are you far more concerned about performing and perfecting rather than thanking Him and reflecting?
I don’t know what your plans are for the rest of December but I am challenging myself, and you as well, to take a step back.
Go look at some Christmas lights.
Retreat from your daily distractions.
Exhale out the stress and inhale with gratitude, for you have already received the greatest Christmas present of all.
I am finding, the older I get and the more Christmases I have, that people far more enjoy AND remember your time, your conversation and your joy when you are around rather than a present you provide them while your heart is absent.
Christmas is cultivated through community.
And I believe a fantastic way to enjoy community is gathering around the Christmas lights.
I believe Melvin would agree
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of GOOD CHEER, I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33