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Light It Up!

December 5, 2023

by Casey Hoskins

My mind has been on Christmas lights. I have only had Christmas lights up on a house once, many years ago, but I dream of the day I can have a house covered in them. I do not currently put lights on the house because the husband and I do not agree on what is festive and whether or not it is necessary to risk your neck on a ladder this time of year. Since I’ve fallen off a ladder and obliterated my knee I no longer have a vote. One day though, I will afford to have a team of people light it up!

I absolutely love driving through the neighborhoods looking at all the beautiful Christmas lights. It is the one thing that always gets me into the Christmas mood. That and putting up the tree. I find that as I get older the things that made me feel all Christmas-y are changing. It used to be the school events and concerts, the gift exchange at my Women’s Bible Study, and the toy aisle at Target. We didn’t buy the kids toys very often but they got to walk through the aisle, pick up toys and dream of what it would be like to have them. Then, at Christmas, we would buy them those toys. Okay, the husband would buy them the toys. I could never decide what to get them because the little girl in me wanted them all so Colin had to step in and make the hard choices. I’m getting off track again, this story is about what Christmas feels like now.

Now it is all about the lights. I went through a phase where the only lights I would use were the big multi-colored ones. Then it was the blue ones because we did a blue and white theme for a few years, and now it is the white ones. I love the cozy glow that they produce and they go with every theme. I think they also help with my vitamin D levels. Something about the warm light they give off puts me at ease and makes me feel happy. Outside of giving more during this season, isn’t that the other part of Christmas? To feel a little lighter, happier, and more hopeful? That is really hard for some of us to do though, and that secret has to stay buried or someone (not sure who) will judge us for it and ruin the whole season. Let’s unbury it.

I absolutely love the idea of Christmas. We look at the Norman Rockwell version, the Hollywood version, or even a past version of our own Christmases and get all those wonderful feelings. Then reality hits and we are left feeling cold, hard, and supremely unfestive. At least, that has been a few of mine. I’ve had to take my son in for an emergency surgery during one holiday season, have had no money during many others, and have even had a bout of suffocating depression during a few. Life doesn’t stop being hard because it is Christmas but hope doesn’t stop being there either.

I sat with my coffee staring at our Christmas tree early one morning, a few years ago, and felt that hope bloom in my heart. I was staring at the bright, little lights buried within the tree branches, loving the way they lit up the tree from the inside out. It became my new tradition and is now one of the things I look forward to every year. For a few weeks I get to see the light within brighten the world around it. For the rest of the year I try to carry that light within me and share it. That may sound a little laughable but part of the reason I write this article is to practice being vulnerable while keeping it light. Now, get out those Christmas lights and Light It Up!

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