The entire Lewis clan took a short drive with some friends the other night. We piled into the SUV and made the short ten-minute trip to a well-known neighborhood in our area that has become a must-see spot for Christmas lights each year. I don’t know for sure, but I have my suspicions that this neighborhood can probably be seen from space.
In a cluster of a few hundred houses, I think I only counted four or five home that DIDN’T have lights on display for Christmas. It was so much fun and a stunning show of Christmas cheer.
Now, that doesn’t mean that every person in the neighborhood celebrates Christmas properly. Christmas, after all, isn’t about colorful, twinkling lights. It’s about the Light of the world, entering His creation as a vulnerable baby. It’s a time when we give gifts as a mirrored behavior – like the gifts brought to the newborn King of the Jews by Magi from the East over 2,000 years ago. It’s about God setting in motion His recovery plan designed to reconcile the world back to Him.
Of course, the lights are a nice touch. I’m not exactly sure how the tradition of putting lights on rooftops got started. It was probably, like most modern Christmas traditions, deeply connected to something spiritual before being hijacked and secularized. So much of what’s come to be known as “Christmas-y” is quite divorced from the coming of the Christ child. Too often, Christmas becomes more about presents than His presence.
Nevertheless, I was encouraged during our short car ride. As we were winding through the streets, one word kept jumping out at me:
Joy is such an uplifting theme of Christmas. Joy is the evidence of God’s involvement in our lives.
In a month which, for so many, culminates in a few moments of happiness during the exchanging of gifts, it’s nice to know that once all the wrapping paper is gone and the trees are put away, that everlasting JOY which only comes from the Lord can still take up residence in our hearts for the long haul.
I am eager to see more Christmas lights this year. Snacking on a cookie and gazing at lights is one of my favorite December activities. Every home is pretty, but I am especially fond of the families who include JOY in their displays. It’s a special reminder of what the season is all about.