Interestingly, there is a marketing background to the Christmas light tradition that drives us all to bundle in our cars and drive through neighborhoods and businesses. Thomas Edison is behind these twinkle lights and his need to share with the world the wonder of his electric lights drove him and his friend Edward Johnson to decorate and light up the night. Now, let’s not forget that it was the Germans who started with the idea of lighting up Christmas trees on December 24, Heiliger Abend, but they chose candles.
What is it about us as humans that makes us want to light up the dark? Surely, it’s not a coincidence that this tradition came as part of the celebration of the darkest part of the year or that lighting candles has become a part of so many of the Christmastime celebrations in churches, but what lies beneath?
It is in those darkest times that we are confronted with our deepest fears and our deepest reality of who we are. It’s in that darkness that we realize we need the light of community.
And when I drive and see Christmas lights now, I see a community of people from different backgrounds, different journeys, lighting the way to a new year, a new hope, a new promise.