I can't get enough Christmas lights. While some might complain about the early appearance of lights in store windows or on Main Street lightposts, I welcome them as soon as there is a chill in the air. The twinkle and glow through crisp air transforms each night into a magical realm, as if we'd all become untethered to gravity and were floating through the stars.
This year I decided not to stress about the strings of blinking incandescents with their inevitable colors that won't illuminate, and went to the home store to get new LED lights. Downside: No patterns of blinking. Upside: bright, steady light that glows with Christmas warmth. And no missing colors.
The great joy of this season -- and as good an argument for getting the Christmas decorating done early as I can think of -- is walking home or driving home in the pitch-dark early evening, and being drawn by the colored lights in our front window.
The lights shine out with the message home, and underneath that message I hear love and hope. If we have once again put up our lights, if we are once again celebrating, then all the pain or fear of our time has not conquered us. We believe that Christmas will come; we believe that the new year will begin; we believe that the darkness will give way before our light. The lights whisper courage. Joy is still within our reach.