Advent has only begun, and already Christmas decorations surround us. In the Church, it's time for purple and pink. We watch quietly, our spirits hushed, as light dawns slowly with the softness of sunrise.
It is quite a different story in the red and green clamor of the world.
I once spoke about this to a friend. So much hubbub, and so soon! Carols blaring, shoppers rushing... and already so many lights.
My friend looked at me with a wisdom born (I suspect) of having lived 25 years longer than I. "Did you ever think," he asked gently, "that every one of those lights is because Jesus came to us?"
Well, yeah, I said. "But not everyone putting lights on their houses is doing it specifically to honor Jesus." I was being very logical. "Some may not even believe in Him."
"Whether they believe in Him or not," said my friend, "they would not be putting up lights right now if Jesus had not come to the world." There would be no Christmas, no decorations, no special songs, no shoppers and gifters, no strings of lights on trees and houses - if Jesus had not come.
My friend went on to say that he prayed when he saw Christmas lights. He thanked Jesus for coming to us. I'm sure he seldom forgot this practice, for he was a man of prayer. This friend has now gone Home to God; he needs no more reminders. I, meanwhile, think every Christmas of his simple wisdom. I think of it with every display I see.. "This would not be here if Jesus had not come." The decorations, the cards, the lights - all trumpet out the news that Something Really Important happened on this earth over 2000 years ago.
O come O come, Emmanuel, for the world is dark and in need of you. O come, Emmanuel, and flood us with Your Light.
(thanks to Linda M for the photo... and thank you to RG for the lesson of the lights)