When I drive to my mom’s condo, I drive through an adjoining neighborhood which has become extremely interesting to me, of late. The “interesting” began back in November, with the very “UN-interesting” practice of putting up Christmas lights.
Many, but not all the houses in the neighborhood put up some semblance of Christmas lights … no big deal. But now, as of Monday, February 8, things have gotten interesting. Because two houses … right across the street from each other … still have their Christmas lights up … and lit … every night. They are not in competition in some weird holiday contest. They are friendly … I watch them in the summer chatting on each other’s lawns. But they both continue to light their Christmas lights … every … single … night.
And I find myself wondering … is it a once in a lifetime choice to keep some Christmas cheer in the neighborhood far into the New Year, in the face of Covid? Or are their lights on timers, and they have just forgotten that the lights are turning on each night? I’m betting on the former choice for “Christmas cheer.” Because I love the idea that lots of people are finding creative ways to keep joy alive in their lives. I can’t begin to name them all. But decorative face masks with clever slogans and images are one of those ways. As are creative videos set to music that offers new pandemic lyrics set to seventies classic rock songs are another way. Along with stories about families sponsoring drive-by celebrations for front-line health care workers, and those who build scaffolding to visit aging grandparents in the second and third floors of nursing care facilities. The list of ways that people do battle with the pandemic, not through vaccinations, but through choices that inspire joy, are endless. And maybe Christmas lights are part of the mix.
My Christmas lights were packed away on the Day of Epiphany (Jan. 6) as they are every year. I sort of wish I still had mine up, like the people in the neighborhood that takes me to my mom’s home. But since that ship has already sailed, maybe I can find other ways to embody the joy that Covid cannot corrupt with its microbial dysfunction. Maybe I can look at the world through a new set of eyes. Maybe I can choose to make the life of another person or two better by what I can do for them. Maybe I can simply choose to be hopeful instead of fatalistic about the impact of Covid on my life and the lives of others. Jesus always found the glimmer of hope that was present in the darkest of moments. Should I not believe that his Spirit at work within me … and you … invites us to do the same thing? Of course I should … as should you.