Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Lights Deprivation

            In addition to broken ankles and a host of other physical and psychological ailments, I suffer from Christmas Lights Deprivation. This disorder is caused (in my case) by being confined indoors—note earlier reference to broken ankles—without access to the beauty of illuminated outdoor Christmas displays, or IOCDs.

            That is one reason I was thrilled to attend the Christmas program at Watsontown Christian Academy on December 5. In addition to the inspiring (and sometimes hilarious) entertainment and the joy of reuniting with my students and friends, I rode six miles there and back with my nose pressed against the window like a dog, panting for Christmas lights.

            I enjoyed every house that had so much as a solitary electric candle in a window, and many homes and the town itself offered much more. Back home, from my bedroom window, I can see only one IOCD:  The neighbors across the street have several strings of white and colored lights across the front of their rental. God bless them for leaving them turned on all night!

            When my sons were little, we frequently drove from our home in Montandon to Mt. Pleasant Mills, about 25 miles, to visit their paternal grandparents. One Christmas evening the weather turned nasty, and we made our return trip through snow flying at the windshield, reminding me of the view from the bridge of the Enterprise as it zips through space at Warp 8. As a Trekker, I enjoyed that sight, but as a white knuckled passenger even on sunny days, I was clinging to the door and praying for mercy as we crawled along, unable to glimpse the road ahead.

            Every few tense, blind minutes, Christmas lights magically appeared to our left or right, assuring me our car was still on Route 35, inching toward Selinsgrove. I doubt the homeowners had us or other confused travelers in mind when they illuminated their properties, but their IOCDs guided us that night.

            Not only did Jesus proclaim, “I am the light of the world (John 8:12),”  he also told his followers, “You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14) .”  

            He explained, “A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (14 – 16).” 

            Indulge me my paraphrase:  A house built alongside the road cannot be hidden. Neither do people hang Christmas lights and fail to plug them in. Instead they turn them on every night and they give light to everyone on the road. In the same way, let your IOCDs—the lights on your houses AND the light in your hearts—shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

            May you give and receive the gift of Christ’s light this season.

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