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After Advent- The Light

January 6, 2014

looking for the light – Christmas 2013

God said, “Let there be light,” and God made light and the light of the world, Jesus.But it is the lights of the Christmas season that make this holy day a special holiday. The glow of Christmas lights begin decorating streets, neighborhoods, and homes early in December, but it is in the church we light four candles of hope, faith, love, and joy. Then on Christmas Eve, the fifth candle, the Christ candle illuminates the earth as the five small flames flicker in the night. I watch the glowing orbs flicker and listen to hymns I’ve known since childhood.

Anticipation realized! The children will open one small present before going to bed. Adults will scurry to set the stage for Santa. I can remember my childhood and that of my daughter’s and grandsons’ when they were little. Memory plays its music at Christmas. How many generations have blended into the lights of Christmas past?

My grandsons are fully grown, all six feet and several inches of them. Delightful young men too young to become fathers, they are old enough to select presents guaranteed to please parents and grandparents. They are young enough to enjoy the giving and receiving presents, but not leaping from bed at 5 am. They must be reminded that presents will be unwrapped at 10 am. “You snooze, you loose.”

In the living room the Christmas tree stretches to the ceiling, white lights glowing to illuminate the gold and silver ornaments. A bright sun, California splendid, shines through the windows, bouncing off the leaded glass panes of the wall separating living from dining rooms. All is calm, all is bright until 10 am.

I remember the lights preceding Christmas — the nights and days enjoying the displays. Huntington Harbor’s Cruise of Lights is sponsored by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, its proceeds benefiting music programs in the county. Majestic homes lining the harbor are alight as boats sail quietly through the canals. In Newport Beach vessels are decorated with lights, and large yachts and small sailboats form a parade to dazzle visitors. Boat horns and whistles pierce night’s quiet. In Fashion Island a gigantic evergreen is splendid with red balls, white lights flashing as high as I can see. South Coast Plaza can be visited any time of day. I prefer early morning before busy shoppers impede views of the tree reaching three stories high to the stained glass dome in the center of the court. Viewed from the second floor, the tree stands nearly alone: only a few cleaners push yellow buckets across the tiles. Across Bear Street the tree in Crystal Court is a magic kingdom of polar bears and elves set in a huge base of baskets and cartons of vegetables and herbs… truly amazing.

The smaller neighborhoods of Orange County are equally ablaze. The week before Christmas the little town of Orange sports a trolley to take sightseers to the best decorated streets. Amid “oohs and aahs” passengers crane necks to see both sides of the streets.

Moorpark streets on Christmas night provide our season finale. The family gather to walk a few carefully selected blocks. Each year we marvel at the brilliance and humor of Christmas. Next to a magnificently lit home, a neighbor put a single lighted arrow on his garage pointing in that direction and saying in large illuminated letters, “Ditto.”

God said, “Let there be light, and there was light, and God saw the light was good.” (Genesis 1:3) Then God sent the light of the world, Jesus, the living light of hope and love and Christmas. 

Let’s “ditto'” the good news throughout 2014. 

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