The Season of Lights – by Ed Dunn

I remember Christmastime as a child. I remember riding together with my brothers and sisters in the backseat of our old family station-wagon. As the days were short on sunlight during the wintery months in our particular part of Western Pennsylvania, many of our rides together took place after dark. We thought of ourselves as “country bumpkins” who grew up “in the sticks,” and as such, we knew if we could catch a glimpse of the Christmas lights from “town” on one of our rides, it would make for a real seasonal treat.   

As children, we were quite lucky. Our family station-wagon was the only one of its kind, at least, its kind to the best of our knowledge on the subject of family transportation. Our family transportation featured a backseat that had been positioned smartly to face the rear-view window. From that point-of-view, we could watch the world go by. You could bet your best Christmas present on the fact that my brothers and sisters and I would fight hard for the view that backseat window would offer.

I remember the fun was in the anticipation. As Dad would drive us slowly out our long, wooded driveway and on to the paved “main” road, there was absolutely nothing to see as we’d look out that window – Just pitch-darkness all around us. And then, suddenly, there was everything to see. Out of the darkness, the most beautiful lights, Christmas lights of red, green, blue and white, would burst into view and light up our world. Through the frosty glass we would “oooh!” and “ahhh!” as we watched the brilliant colors twinkle from the edges of a familiar farmhouse or the branches of a well-positioned pine. On, and then off, darkness, and then, light. We could’ve asked Dad to drive us around all night.

Our childhood memories can be one of the most precious aspects to any Christmas season. For me as a child, I must confess it was always all about “The Season of Lights.” The pure brilliance and beauty of the colors, set against the darkness in places well-familiar, filled me with joy and hope. Whether drawing from memory or from anticipation, I knew I was home. We all were. 

As we approach this Christmas season, a true season of lights, it is helpful to remember we live with Christ Jesus resident within us. We give thanks that we are no longer in the darkness. “You are the light of the world” Jesus reminds his followers in the gospel of Matthew (Matthew 5:14). That light has a clear and visible purpose and cannot be hidden from view.

As Jesus has made his home with us, we make our home with him and with each other. We make our home in the world. In a very real sense, we together light up the world. Through our lives in him, we bring brilliant light to the darkness. We bring beautiful light, in many different colors, to each other. To know this truth and to live from this light is to give joy and hope to the world. As that is what this Christmas season is truly all about, we share in this good news together. As Christ lives in us, he shines his light through us. By his grace, God illuminates the world with us, brilliant and beautiful lights, who reflect the Light of Christ. May you and yours have a brilliant and beautiful season of lights.

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