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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|And now, for something completely different . . .|
Lately, I've started taking pretty lengthy walks at night. It started Christmas night--the family was exhausted and went to bed pretty easily, and I felt no interest in doing any of my normal nighttime activities, so I headed out of the house to see what the neighborhood was doing.
Yeah, I live in a pretty safe suburban area . . .
Anyway, it was such a nice night, and it was so quiet and peaceful out, that it reminded me how much I like the nighttime.
Since then, I've taken several other late night walks, and, even though the temperature varies a bit (tonight is pretty cold around here), I've found that the night is very good for thinking. And each time, I find that, somewhere in my mind, I am always looking around for Christmas lights, just to see who is still in celebration.
Christmas at my house ended abruptly the morning of January 1st. In fact, I woke up to the sound of my wife (who was awake a couple hours before me) taking down the Christmas tree. The wind had already taken care of most of the outdoor decorations a few days earlier, so all that was left was the tree and few strings of light inside the house--which were mostly in a state of demolition by the time I got up on January 1st.
If I'd had my druthers, I think the decorations would have lasted longer; in fact, if I had my way, the decorations might not come down until some time in March--maybe about the same time as Spring Training gets in full swing. But, oh well . . .
So it interests me to see who, and how many, still are displaying their Christmas Lights. And tonight that number is very few. Not surprising, fifteen days after Christmas, but still I would have thought a few more people would leave their lights up.
And then I started wondering just why I was so interested in this topic. Sure, I like the aesthetics, but I got plenty of that during the actual season.
And then I started wondering about the psychology of who leaves their lights up two weeks after Christmas (and for now, let's assume that we're not talking about Russian Christians, who just passed their Christmas a couple days ago, or any other sort of actual answer). Is it just laziness? An inability to get on top of the "to-do" list?
Or is it a symbolic gesture--something along the lines of holding on to the Spirit of the Season?
I tend to think towards that last explanation. And, let me tell you what I think it means.
I noticed on Christmas night that the lighting displays, while still as numerous as in past years, were somewhat diminished in their . . . gaudiness. I actually liked it. A little bit humbler approach to the displays. But, I think it was also a bit of a reflection on the realities of this particular year. People are being a bit more guarded about their expenditures, and it shows even in their decorating.
But some few people are trying to hold on to the Season for just a few weeks extra. Perhaps this year, more than most, we need this to be true:
It's Christmas Eve. It's-it's the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we-we-we smile a little easier, we-w-w-we-we-we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people that we always hoped we would be.
Does keeping a lighting display up, holding on to a Season past its time, help us hold on to some of the actual Spirit of that Season? Maybe.
I know I was encouraged by the sight of the lights still up. And, maybe we can, if we think about it, hold on to the idea that we can be the people we always hoped we would be.
And for the Big Picture, isn't this a really important idea? If we were the people we always hoped we would be, maybe we would take care of each other a little better in our communities, so that we wouldn't need government assistance; maybe we would care for our children better as communities, so shootings at schools would be unhear-of; maybe the elderly in our communities would be respected, admired and assisted so that the government wouldn't have to do it or mandate it or make them its number one expenditure.
Maybe we could actually get some things done. Imagine if all of our problems had to be solved on Christmas Eve--wouldn't we get a lot more accomplished?
I don't know--it's all just stray philosophizing. Nothing that should be taken all that seriously.
But, then again, next time you're faced with a really tough decision or confronted by a . . . difficult person . . . think about what sort of things you would do to deal with it if it were Christmas Eve. If the Spirit of the Season were a part of the decision-making process.
Would it be different than normal? I know it would be for me.
And maybe that's the best part of Christmas, the part we need to hold on to for as much of the year as we can. Because we were given the most astonishing gift 2000 years ago, maybe we could actually try to honor the day by trying to be the person He intended us to be throughout the year.
And then we wouldn't need those Christmas lights hanging outside our houses, because we would actually be sources of Light, ourselves.