A Little Christmas Glow

Roone AcreeBy Roone Acree5 Minutes

It’s the beginning of the Christmas season, and I’ve already dug out my outside lights and decorations from the garage. In the South, we have little to no hope for a white Christmas. Feathers flying off the back of a pickup are the closest we’re likely to get to a yuletide flurry.

But the one thing we do look forward to is adorning the outside of our humble abodes with lights and Christmas decor. It doesn’t matter where we live – a mansion or a mobile home, as long as we’ve got somewhere to prop up our plastic Santas, we’re as happy as a dog with two tails.

Already this season, I’ve seen a lifetime of synchronized light shows and animated dancing reindeer. I’ve seen cars and trucks decorated with everything from antlers on the rooftops to Rudolph’s red nose across their grilles. There have even been those humongous blowup Grinches in a couple yards, although I cannot fathom what a green-haired, pot-bellied looking guy has to do with our Savior’s birth.

One big trend I’ve noticed are those elegant looking icicles dripping from trees or the big colored bulbs that hang on bushes. Some folks have switched to white LEDs, I guess, to give their display a dramatic effect. But to me, it will always be the lit-up nativity scenes, gleaming radiantly and joyfully through a cold and crisp December night, that mean Christmas the most.

I find it especially hard not to yearn for a normal Christmas season this year – to do the things my family and I are used to doing. That’s why I find myself more eager than usual to eat my full weight in freshly baked Christmas cookies, or listen to my Tony Bennett Christmas CDs until my teenage son hides them underneath the couch cushions. Some things ought to stay the same.

But even with these comforts, I get a gnawing feeling that we’re living in what they call a new normal now. That somehow we’ve spun out into a whole new world that is strange and out of control. I have to remind the little boy within me of the power of God’s hope that brings comfort when I don’t feel so comforted. I have to cling to the faith that my Lord is guiding me even when my circumstances look bleak and dark.

When my outlook gets dreary, I have a comforting memory tucked away that I think back on now and again. I was in kindergarten and lived in a small, tumbledown house that often seemed dark and lonely. At times, I was afraid of that house and the way it groaned and creaked whenever the wind blew. One cold day in December, we placed electric candles in the windowsills as decorations, so when night came, we could watch the light bounce and flutter throughout the rooms.

As we gathered on the couch that evening beside the Christmas tree, I remember seeing the flickering light chase away the darkness, leaving our house filled with a luminosity that brought peace and comfort. Now and then, I could feel a warmth inside my chest, and I knew I didn’t have to be afraid because of the glow that surrounded me.

Today I think of God’s presence in the same way and know I can cling to it whenever I feel the cold dark trying to creep in again. I don’t have to be afraid.

I pray that you will embrace the hope of that promise as well. May His peace continue to be with you, and may the glory of His light shine upon you this Christmas and all year round.

Merry Christmas.