Sunday, December 7, 2008

Chritmas lights - to be or not to be?

Power stations must be gearing up for the annual surge due to the Holiday season lights. Our neighborhood is gradually lighting up and some homes seem to be competing with Blackpool [British readers] or the Vegas Strip [American readers]. For the first two years here we did the same, gradually buying more lights.

Okay, hear it comes . . . . “Scrooge”, “Humbug”, you will be thinking, but this year we decided to keep things more simple by not adding to the light pollution in our street (not to mention reducing our carbon footprint and maybe seeing a smaller December electricity bill).

To be honest the real reason is that all the “glitz” of “Christmas” wears a little thin when we consider the plight of millions worldwide who have no electricity, no clean water and hardly any food, not to mention nearer to home, our many “neighbors” who have no roof over their heads, never mind one lit with hundreds of light bulbs.

We shall decorate, albeit not so early as previous years, but more conservatively. Of greater importance, we shall enjoy the Christmas Season by remembering its true meaning.

1 comment:

ellie said...

Hey Dadsy,
I appreciate your position.
And it caused me to ponder the True Meaning of Christmas. What is the true meaning of Christmas?
I guess traditionally most would say that it is the celebration of the birth of Christ. But what makes Christ being born important? Is it because God said so or it is perhaps because with Christ came something important, something special?
For my opinion (aren't you glad you NEVER have to ask for it) I think that the best reason to celebrate this season is not because a child was born some 2000 years ago but rather because a child of light, a being of love was born 2000 years ago.
To me, the reason for the season, as many Christians like to say, is that we were offered a gift, a map for the soul and of what could be. Now people will certainly argue what the exact path is but I think many will agree that Christ was a living example of the way to enlightenment. To me, he was a direct communication from God telling us what we could aspire to. What we are capable of. Of greatness and boundless love and light. Of different perspectives and new levels of understanding, compassion and tolerance.
I totally respect your position, as I have mentioned. Perhaps it is your calling to your own personal greatness to light your Christmas lights later. Perhaps you could send this monetary savings on your light bill to the Durham Rescue Mission or give a coat to a homeless person. There are so many different ways to express the boundless love and light that Christ brought to this planet.
I would like to share a story to explain why I put my decorations up early-besides being a 5 year old at heart. (Is it permissible in the blogging world for a comment to be longer than an entry??)
A number of years ago, Durham had an ice storm. It took down the power lines resulting in a lot of people, Stuart and I included, without power. The temperatures were uncharacteristically low. Hotels were fully booked by people trying to find warmth that they couldn't find at their own houses.
We stayed home because we had pets and needed to keep them warm too.
It was miserable. We could see our breath in the least during the day because at night there wasn't enough light to see.
The days started to add up and the houses around us all started to get power back. This happened a couple of weeks before Christmas and people in Durham started turning their Christmas lights on, accompanied by a heavy dose of guilt about those who didn't have their power back yet.
It took 6 and 1/2 days to get our power back. I remember crying the last night because I was so cold and rundown.
But every time I drove home from work and saw others lights on I was reminded of a few things that made all of the difference.
1. My power would be back on soon and the power company was working day and night to make that happen. Every house that had restored power was one less that had to get done before mine.
2. And more importantly, I was brought back to what was important to me. A sense of connectedness. The belief that life is good and that there is light, both physical and spiritual, in this world. I was so grateful to those who brought light to my life, especially as my spirit sank.
As I drive around now, I see the lights and I always smile. I also give thanks for the spirit, the show of light and enthusiasm that the residents of those homes show. It is their way of saying, if nothing else, that this moment in time is important and they are happy about it.
And if driving or walking by a house, bedecked in little glowing points of light creates in me the feeling of love, gratitude and a knowing of something greater than myself, of a connectedness than transcends our physical experience then I think that the reason for the season is alive and well.
And on a side note...I bet the wiseman men were REALLY glad that God didn't wait to light their guiding star at the last minute!:)
Merry Christmas!