Christmas Lights

I don’t usually give much thought to how I’m going to pass from this life. Many, I’m sure, hope that it will be peaceful after a wonderful life full of years, or maybe in some heroic fashion or some epic moment. And I’m sure that at some point I’ve entertained those thoughts, but I don’t usually ruminate on them. Most recently, however, I sure gave a whole lot of thought to it after trying to put up our Christmas lights. Let me paint you a picture for a moment. Imagine a larger-than-average guy (who didn’t even dare to look at the weight limit for the ladder he was using) wearing non-traction boat shoes on a post-rainy day, armed with nothing more than some plastic clips, partially tangled up strands of Christmas lights, a wife that he very deeply wanted to impress, and sheer unexperienced optimism. If that doesn’t spell danger, I don’t know what does. This wasn’t your average split-open-and-take-a-few-casual- steps-up kind of ladder. It was a welp-it’s-not-tall-enough-let’s-extend-it-until-it-can-scratch-the-bottom-of-the-moon kind of ladder, courtesy of Brian Bailey. There was a whole lot of gravity wanting to return me to the earth up there, and I thought more about how I’d go in that hour and half than I had in my entire life up until that point. But the lights are up, and so far, I’m okay.
The real question is: was it worth it?? I mean for us, it was only a few strands, and there are houses in our neighborhood that are waaaay better than ours. But I can attest that even just that slight difference in driving home, seeing a few blinking lights signifying a dash of whimsy in the season made it worth it to us. I completely understand that decorations and lights might not be for everyone, but I also understand that there are people who plan entire nights to drive around and simply look at the decorations and the lights, just to feel that little hint of something different.
In the same way that those lights on our houses point to something greater, I pray that we do the same thing for ourselves! Imagine if we decorated our lives with those obvious moments of joy and wonder. Imagine if by how you interact with your community, people could clearly see that there is SOMETHING going on beyond the normal and expected state of the earth. Not with little bulbs that blink or shiny garlands hung around our necks, but with the prepared answer that the book of 1 Peter reminds us of: why do you have the hope that you have? May we be like those houses that, although surrounded by darkness, still draw the eyes of those that drive by, because it shines in that darkness and points to something greater. May we reflect the light that God has granted us.
We may slip, fall, get tangled up, dangle for a bit, but even then…yes….it will be worth it.
Caleb Smith, Pulpit Minister

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