There is one thing in this world that gives me hope when it feels like evil surrounds us, that makes me smile despite myself even when I’m lost in tears, and that makes my heart feel light even when I’m troubled. Christmas time is the one time of year, I feel, that there is really good and a little magic left in the world. I’m not even talking about the religious parts, just the general vibes of the Christmas season.
Don’t get on my case about the tragedy of the loss of the “true meaning of Christmas” or the treacherous hustle and bustle of holiday shopping. I don’t care if Christmas lights are a nasty competition between feuding neighbors to prove someone is best. I don’t care about any of these things.
Christmas time is the only time of year when people up and down every street purposely put light out into the world.
Winter is the darkest time of year. The days are short and cold. In some places, the sun hardly shines at all. Instead of just hating the situation and complaining about it like we do for so many other difficult times, around Christmas, people put out lights. They literally go out into the darkness and hang beauty and light to brighten the world and celebrate a season. The rest of the year, people keep their beauty to themselves; they adorn their homes with beautiful decorations and furnishings to create a space they love. But it’s all inside. But at Christmas? People take their time and money to decorate the outside of their homes, spreading beauty into their neighborhoods. It’s for them, too, sure, but it’s also for others.
My favorite Christmas activity is to walk or drive around and look at the lights. Everywhere. Houses, trees outside of business downtown, lamp posts wrapped in light. This is even more fun now that I have a baby who stares in awe and wonder at the lights.
When I was younger, my little brother and I used to take the train to NYC after school all Christmas season just to look at the lights. I love the glisten of the giant snowflakes in the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue and the glow of the tree at Rockefeller Center. I love seeing all the people carrying shopping bags that I know are full of gifts for loved ones. The crowds don’t bother me at Christmas. The long lines at stores just make me happy. Everybody is out spending their time and money thinking about others and giving them beautiful things.
There is no other time of year when I feel like the entire world is creating beauty and thinking of others. The winter holiday season with its lights and decorations truly feels, to me, like the last bit of magic left in this world, the last bit of beauty and wonder created by man.
Do you get that magical feeling about Christmas lights? What’s your favorite thing about the holiday season?