I realize that I am ahead of the Christmas season, but my thoughts don’t necessarily follow a schedule. Christmas lights really did come to the forefront of my mind today by way of a special e-mail message I received. My thought is about how things we store away during most of the year, Christmas lights for example, can come to the rescue when light is desperately needed.
First of all, let me say that I enjoy the festive lights of the holiday season, which would include Christmas; the Julian calendar’s new year; Hanukkah (the Jewish Festival of Lights); Diwali (the Hindu Festival of Lights); Ice Sculpture Festivals all over the northern hemisphere, my birthday and the list goes on and on.
I grew up in the northern hemisphere and winter was dark. It was popular to put a bright Christmas tree in a showplace (usually a by a window) for all to see. Hanukkah operates the same way with a Hanukkiah in a window for all to see the candle lights. Through the years, simplicity gave way to unbelievable light shows complete with dancing lights to music, an illumination that could be seen from the moon. As I said, this festive lighting started out small and then grew and grew. Neighbors competed with each other and neighborhoods tried to outdo other neighborhoods. Local television companies started to highlight the brightest houses to see and then network television joined in and started a nationwide competition.
We went from this, to this.
As much as I enjoyed the brightness of the winter lights and the creativity that home owners displayed, I was equally always let down when the general reason for the lights ended…not religiously, but socially. The day after Christmas initiated the dimming of the lights. Slowly, but surely, house and yard lighting decorations came down and winter nights became darker and darker. Because of this winter shade, it would be nice to see lights stay up and lit through the winter. I wish for this knowing that the lighting season probably adds significantly to homeowners’ electricity bills.
My thought here then goes to sorting the lights and decorations and boxing them up for another season. These things are pretty much useless until the following year just around the end of November. That is until this year when Hurricane Ida pushed into the shore of Louisiana!
As I mentioned earlier, way earlier, I received an e-mail from a friend who lives in the western part of Louisiana. His home was safe but to the east, near Houma and northeastward lay little towns that were wiped out or significantly left in the dark. A Catholic priest put out a call for help to get a damaged church back in working order. The huge stained glass window in the front of this church had been blown out like a birthday cake candle and what a mess Ida left inside that church!
The first order of duty was to find some electricity. Someone brought in a generator and those with some basic electrical experience got together and joined the power of the generator to indoor circuity. Limited success illuminated parts of the church, but still more lights were needed for the dark, wet church. Lo and behold the ‘bright’ idea came to use the church’s white Christmas lights. Strewn around the pews, the wonderful Christmas lights came into play much earlier than Christmas!
When I saw this photo I thought about all the lights packed up since last Christmas. They are waiting to fulfill a purpose, to bring light into a world that needs creativity, resourcefulness, cooperation of skills and selflessness. There is no doubt that these same lights which came to the rescue in a Louisiana church will make yet another appearance in the middle of December and, with hope, stay up and lit to help everyone remember that we all need each other, especially in times of natural calamity. Go little lights, go!