We range from the polemic, to the intellectual, to the metaphysical here at BC, but this evening I would just like to write a post about how ….Christmas lights are really pretty. I know, amazing, ground-zapping, deeper than deep. But, really, I think this acknowledgment deserves a few moments of our time. I was just taking a walk through our Army housing area in Germany admiring everyone’s Christmas decorations and it filled my heart with sincere joy. The soft glow on each person’s balcony creates a figurative glow around my happy heart.
The simultaneous a) unifying sense of awe, excitement and preparation that causes people to get those lights out of their basements and decorate their home and b) the divergent styles of decorating, tickles me every year. I am not picky. The traditional electric candle in every window, or the inflatable Mickey Mouse characters that take up half the front lawn… I love it all. Whatever I see, I just think, “yea, right on, that took effort, and you are not ashamed to show the world that you are celebrating something out-of-this-world.” Maybe it isn’t out-of-this-world for them, like the Son of God coming to Earth as an infant King, but still, the soft glow of Christmas lights outside one’s home is an outward acknowledgment of an inner glow of Christmas in one’s heart. I am not being cheesy, I really mean it.
If you could only see these non-descript, industrially efficient German apartments into which they place Army families… you would appreciate how much a strand or two of Christmas lights can warm things up. Our apartments are various shades of gray and beige, no one’s is much larger or smaller than anyone else’s. If you have a little more rank than you earn a small balcony, but no one really has a lawn or any sort of garage. So, come December, this little island of American families outside Frankfurt starts to glow. We glow in color, in white, even in green and blue. As you take out your garbage, you can’t help but feel a sense of pride in the American religiosity or idealism or whatever it is those lit-up balconies and windows seem to convey to the German public.
I love it.
Yes, Christmas lights are pretty. Good night.