Christmas lights are fun, let’s enjoy them

“It was a tradition when our children were growing up to go on a Christmas light tour.”

I had a striking visual of light in darkness early one morning this week. A bright light, probably the planet Venus, shone with extraordinary clarity, and pierced an otherwise black sky. Given my Christian faith, and the time of year – less than a week until Christmas – my thoughts turned to the legendary Star of Bethlehem and the theme of light shining in darkness.

During the month of December, the symbolism of light in darkness is prevalent. Winter solstice occurs. Celebrated in ancient pagan traditions as the rebirth of the sun, it marks the shortest and darkest day of the year. In the Jewish tradition, Hanukkah, the festival of light, is celebrated for one week in December. Christmas, the Christian feast that celebrates the birth of Jesus as light to the world, also takes place in December.

Across traditions and time, there has been a longing for light to brighten the darkness of winter.

Every year in December, there is some kerfuffle about Christmas. Objections arise to the use of anything associated with the season that even remotely references Christianity. This year has been no exception.

In British Columbia, the debate began after a councillor in Victoria objected to, among other decorations, the lighting up of a giant sequoia tree. This prompted radio call in shows. A variety of opinions held sway. There were some who would do away with all Christmas decorations, lights included, in the interests of inclusion and secularity.

As someone who really likes sparkly Christmas lights, the suggestion that Christmas lights force Christian beliefs on others seems silly, overly serious, and misses the point.

Municipalities don’t put up decorative lights, colloquially called Christmas lights, in December to promote Christianity. The lights beautify the public space at the darkest and dreariest time of the year. The displays contribute to the atmosphere of good will that characterizes the holiday season. And, in larger centres, the light displays attract people into the city. This contributes dollars to the local economy.

For the vast majority, Christmas lights are not a proclamation of Christian belief. They are pretty, bright and fun. They punctuate the darkness of winter. They express participation in a seasonal holiday that celebrates relationships and generosity.

It was a tradition when our children were growing up to go on a Christmas light tour. We usually did this after attending Mass on Christmas Eve. We would drive through our village “oohing and aahing” at the colourful displays of lights. Last year, when family was home for the holidays, there were several outings to look at lights and “blow ups”, as my grandchildren call those inflatable characters popping up everywhere.

Our family is not unique in driving around to see Christmas light displays. It’s a common and simple activity that many enjoy. Christmas would seem incomplete without those strands of colourful lights illuminating the landscape.

The world is full of real problems with serious implications for humanity. Christmas lights isn’t one of them. For most people, Christmas lights are just fun. Let’s enjoy the beauty and brightness they provide at the darkest time of the year.

Trail resident Louise McEwan is a freelance writer with degrees in English and Theology.

Just Posted

Teck will ‘vigorously defend’ American judgment

U.S. Supreme Court denied hearing Teck’s appeal last week

Trail police looking for male suspect driving red van

RCMP report the man asked a young boy to get in his vehicle

Castlegar police seek dawn home intruder

Man walked into house at 4 a.m., asks son about mother

Kootenay Boundary emergency alert test coming Friday

RDKB emergency alerting system will be tested June 21 at 10:30 a.m.

High rate of intestional disease in Trail compared to rest of B.C.

“We do not know the cause of this higher rate,” says Dr. Karin Goodison

VIDEO: Sexting teens at risk of depression and substance abuse, Canadian study says

Use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana were also found to be associated with sexting

VIDEO: Toronto Raptors announcer credited with calming crowds after shooting

Matt Devlin, the Raptors’ play-by-play announcer since 2008, was praised for preventing panic from spreading

Mini-horse visits residents at Lower Mainland care home

Gunner turned a visit with grandpa into a major event for everyone at the residence

Women sue former Vancouver cop over alleged sexual abuse during pimp case

Two women claim James Fisher caused psychological trauma during the Reza Moazami investigation

First ever Indigenous person to join the RCMP to be honoured in B.C.

Hawk Kelly said becoming a Mountie was his dream job as a kid

Deadline for cabinet to decide future of Trans Mountain expansion is today

International Trade Minister Jim Carr described the decision as ‘very significant’

Mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of B.C. inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Dash-cam video in trial of accused B.C. cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Most Read