I love twinkle lights. It’s really one of my favorite parts of the holidays. It’s fitting that during the darkest days of the year we have so many brilliant lights shining all around us.
Something struck me this year about holiday lights. I grew up in Ohio and went to school in southeastern Ohio (OU in case you’re curious). It was a pretty rural, depressed area, not unlike some of the areas in Eastern Washington. I recall driving through these little rural towns where the mean income was well below the poverty level, and seeing one or two strands of colored lights strung in a lopsided, almost careless fashion around the front door, or one of the windows of otherwise dark houses. I always felt so sad inside, as if these people were trying to liven up the place, but it was too little—it always seemed too little to really capture a festive spirit. Instead it came off as well, depressing.
I recently drove through an area that reminded me of those times back in Ohio during the holidays and I had a very different experience. I used to think to myself “Why bother? Better to just not hang any lights at all.” Some may call me cynical, and I would agree that I was. But sometimes it seems like we as a human race feel this way a lot. We tell each other not to bother shining our lights, because it won’t make any difference anyway. Often, we don’t say this directly to another person’s face. We say it indirectly in lack of support or a sideway comment, we say it energetically by withdrawing or ignoring. No matter how it’s conveyed, we say it through the filter of our broken hearts. Hearts that once used to shine brightly as children, then through the trials of life, got dimmer and dimmer. When your heart dims, it’s very hard to be around people who shine.
I realized that those lights, instead of being a pathetic attempt at being festive, were really more of a beacon of hope. They are like a banner that says, “Yeah, it’s dark. Yeah, we only got money for one strand of lights, but they sure are pretty, and they give us a little lift…some hope.” Truly, it’s all in what you focus on—the lack of light, or the glimmer of possibility.
That’s what this season is about, isn’t it? All the lights, all the festivities, all the singing and warm feelings. It’s this beautiful collective of light and life. It’s an affirmation that though it’s cold and dark out there, we still have hope. Even if the economy is in trouble, even if we are scared to step it up in our businesses, even if our relationships are strained during the holidays, we still believe in something bigger than ourselves and in the hope of new beginnings and life that will come again in just a few short months…maybe even tomorrow.
I love twinkle lights. They remind me that no matter how dark it is, even just one little light shining in the darkness is all we need to see our way. So, go out there—shine your light. Shine it no matter what anyone else thinks, or says or does to try and pull the plug on you. Shine even though it’s scary and dark and you’re hanging lopsided and unsure of your surroundings and relationships. Shine because it’s what you came here to do.
Happy Holidays From My Heart to Yours,