Thursday’s Thoughts is a new section of the site where I get to ramble about some of the non-craft related thoughts in my head. I won’t be posting every Thursday–just when I have noteworthy/shareable thoughts on a topic.
Ever since I was a little girl, my family has had our Christmas Eve tradition. My parents, brother, and I, along with my aunt and uncle, go to my grandparents’ house for supper and gift exchanges. The meal is largely the same every year and amazing every single bite of it. Gift time is shorter now that my brother and I are adults and not getting the latest Legos and Barbies, but that time is still treasured and full of love and laughter.
There was one other part of that tradition, though, at least in my mind: On the drive home, I’d always count how many houses were lit up and decorated. As a child, it was always amazing to see how many houses were brightly lit and uniquely decorated with lights, cutouts, and inflatables.
Years later, we still drive roughly the same route home, and I still look for houses that are lit up. However, I’ve stopped counting how many there are. I know in my heart that not nearly as many houses are decorated now than they were 15 years ago.
It’s funny, isn’t it, how things change as time passes and as you grow up? What once was beautiful and bright is now dark and different.
Oftentimes, life is the same.
Perhaps your sense of childish whimsy feels out of reach. Or the innocence you had as a child is gone now as you watch the nightly news and hear about violence, war, and conflict. Friendships may have failed and jobs that once felt fulfilling may now be a source of anxiety and stress. And when you look for brighter news, often times, it doesn’t seem to want to be found. Even at Christmastime, when everything is supposed to be more magical and the spirit of giving is in the air, the news continues on about hardship and tragedy 90% of the time.
So here I am, wondering how to find more hope not just at Christmastime, but at any time of year. How do we find light when the world around us seems so dark?
I propose a solution that’s simple in theory, but admittedly harder in practice: Look for the Christmas lights. In literal sense, that means that instead of looking at houses that were once lit and are now dark, look to where light remains. In a practical, yet infinitely more challenging way, it means that you can’t stare at dark areas of the world and of life too long; if you’re too busy staring at those areas, then your eyes don’t drift to where light still exists. And it ignores the fact that that place may be dark now, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be bright again in the future.
But where does light exist in the here and now? Everywhere. It’s just a matter of turning your gaze towards it. For me, it’s looking at my church and seeing the love the congregation has for one another. It’s seeing a smiling toddler dance to the music. It’s looking at my parents and seeing them embrace and share a kiss. It’s my lovely dog, sleeping on the edge of my bed as I type.
Your “Christmas lights” may be different from mine, but I promise, light and joy are still out there just waiting to be seen.
Now that Christmas has passed, people will start taking down their Christmas lights. But we can appreciate those lights while they’re still up, just like we can appreciate the lights of our life that are currently shining. In the same way, we can look forward to new places being lit in the future. And we can look at ourselves to make sure that we are a source of light to the people around us.
But that, friends, is a topic big enough for another day.
PS: Was this message an encouragement to you? Be sure to save it to Pinterest for future reference and for others to be encouraged as well by clicking the image below.