The theme of this year’s Advent devotion is: Do you see what I see? An array of St. Paul voices selected a photo or photos that hold very special memories to them, then sat down and reflected on what that photo means to them. What do they see and remember that others may not when looking at this photo? Through their words and stories, hopefully, you’ll see a little of what they see.
Christmas has always been the climax of my year. Gathering with family members to eat fantastic meals together. Caroling with my church group. And how could I forget the gifts I receive and give?
Although these all have their own stories, the most important memories that I can remember are of my father and me hanging up Christmas lights year after year.
My father and I often debate when we should hang our Christmas lights; whether that be right after Halloween or after our school’s Thanksgiving break. I’m sure we all remember the year 2020, being quarantined at home with little contact outside of our community. That year, especially, I wanted to put up our lights as early as possible. Thinking it was too soon, my father quickly told me that we should wait until after Thanksgiving to begin our treasured tradition. Not wanting to be told no, I debated him. In order to end the debate, he gave me the assignment of proving why hanging the lights early was the right choice.
A couple of days later, I brought to him an online newspaper article that said putting Christmas lights up early actually improved a person’s mood. I argued that it wouldn’t only improve our own moods, but the moods of others in our neighborhood. After reading the article, my father decided to let us put our lights up early. Bringing joy to our community will always be such a great memory that I still think of to this day.
I think you can see the light of God through these bulbs as they shine in the dark. I see it as if God’s light is shining through the darkness of our lives and showing that God is always there, no matter where we are, just like Christmas lights! Hanging Christmas lights is always a way to reflect on the joy of the season and makes ours and everyone else’s Christmas season even better than it was before. In 2020 (when this memory takes place) it was also a chance to brighten the Christmas season for our neighborhood when so many could not leave to visit family.
I hope your Christmas this year is just as merry and bright as ours!
David Ball is a sophomore at Bettendorf High School. He loves helping his community through events run by his Student Council.