Thursday, December 22, 2011

Have you ever plugged a strand of Christmas lights in…

…and they are bright and shiny and glittery and magical, until suddenly they start going out, one by one, until the whole strand becomes nothing more than cheap wire with an electrical plug on one end?

You shake the cord. You plug the cord into a different outlet. You shake the cord again.

Sometimes some of the lights flicker on again briefly. And sometimes they just stay totally dark.


There might be times when you stand in that darkness, feeling like everyone else you know has Christmas lights that work. It might even feel like the whole world is filled with sparkle and twinkle and all you have in your grasp is cheap, plastic coated wire that contains no joy, whatsoever.

If things have been difficult for some time, perhaps the lights coming on at all are really the startling thing. That little bit of glow might feel like a broken promise…or the taunt of a world that seems determined to make the darkness absolute.

Loss. Sorrow. Grief. Disapointment. Pain. Worry. Fear. Expectations. Memories.

One by one the lights flicker out. And sometimes they come on, but sometimes it seems that they just continue until it feels like there is no reason to even look for the plug to try anymore.

Christmas in the dark can be a lonely, isolated time.

I wish I had the answers on how to keep those fragile little bulbs from going dark. I wish I had the reasons that life has to be so difficult.

But, I don’t.

The only thing that works for me is even on the blackest of days, I make myself look outside myself. I’m not saying, “Oh, so many people have it worse than me”. I think I’m saying, “Things are pretty lousy right now but if I let them, all the bad things will corrode these lights to the point that they will never work again.” And that is a risk I am unwilling to take. A possibility my heart cannot afford.

So I will continue to play Christmas music loudly, sing carols badly, wrap presents with too much tape and too few ribbons. I will rejoice in my Christmas cards, and drop jingly change into the Salvation Army buckets and I will hope.

And I will hope that if you are sitting in the darkness, the lights will come a-glow for you as well.

Perhaps if we plug all of our light strands together in a sense of community and kindness and prayer and compassion, we can make this holiday just a bit brighter...


…for each of us…no matter if we are sitting in the darkness or in a dazzling, deck-the-hall room!

Once we take down all the holly and the shiny ornaments and throw away the wrapping paper all that really matters are kind words, thoughtful hugs, and finding joy in small moments…

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27 comments:

Wanderer said...

What an interesting and very deep look at our hearts and what matters most. Love the analogy of the lights. Beautiful post, Jenny! Thanks!

Nezzy said...

Yes, Miss Jenny...there are many who have a most difficult time this time of year. God bless you for writin' this beautiful post.

I had Pastor buy me two more strands of lights for our vestibule this year. We we're havin' a special community concert and I wanted it to look perfect. (ya'll know I have that disease)

I pluggen one in and all was fine. The second string only half the light came on. One by one I tested each and every light on the new string. I called Pastor (who just happened to be a Wally~World, he loves that place) to bring me a new string.

I finished decoration leavin' the defected string for Pastor to return. Later that day he plugged in the string and dang, if it didn't light up like an oil refinery!!! Go figure!!!

Guess he had 'the power'!!! Heeehehe!

God bless ya and have a very BRIGHT Christmas in your part of the world. I know that you sure have lit up mine! :o)

Dana @ Bungalow'56 said...

A beautiful post Jenny. I loved the last sentiment. I will be remembering this over the holiday season. You are a wise woman.
Merry Christmas!
Dana

Bookie said...

Your post today is profound and perfect...we all needed it. Thank you and Merry Christmas to your house!

Ms Sparrow said...

May your Christmas be full of lights and love.

"Alone again.... naturally!" said...

Thank you Jenny for your words of wisdom and a Merry Merry Christmas to you and your family!

taylorsoutback said...

Perfect words...

Sue said...

A lovely, sensitive post that will bring meaning to everyone who reads it, and not just those who are having a picture perfect Christmas. You are the best, Jenny!

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

=)

Lorrie said...

A beautiful post, Jenny. Thank you.

Helen said...

Thought-provoking words ......

Joyeux Noël

Karen S. said...

Jenny you put the icing on the cake, exactly perfect....and while we offer love, acceptance, forgiveness, and peace around if will come back to us......a circle of love....this life is too short for anything else! A very merry Christmas celebration to and your family as well!

Theresa said...

Oh Jenny, that is one of the most important posts that I recall! There are so many sitting with that same green wire and no lights or very few! I know several families going thru difficult times! I appreciate you telling it like it is! Not all of Christmas is bright and cheery for so many! I pray that the lights will flicker to give hope and come on strong! HUGS and thanks!

Linda Anne Young said...

Merry Christmas, Jenny! You are a shining light for othes! I liked your post, and I want to connect "my lights" with you, so I'm your newest follower! Love, Linda

edenhills said...

Truly a beautiful post with a great depth to it. I know reading your holiday post has brightened my corner of the world. :-) I hope you have a very blessed holiday.

Jo said...

brilliant post!!!

Ames said...

Christmas time is a very melancholy time for me. Especially this particular Christmas. I looked in the mirror and saw a lackadaisical person. I had to push myself to get in the mood. Very hard to do when you live with a man that doesn't care if there's a tree, or lights outside, church Cantata's, or Christmas parades. He's content to just be alive. But a dull life leads to depression. And I for one don't want to go any further down that road. So I will sing carols off key with you, and bake cookies, and light scented candles, and sip on special teas I received from friends far away. Much love and a big hug too! Merry Christmas Jenny!~Ames
....Can you hear me now?

5thsister said...

I'm at a loss for words. This is a very poignant post, well written. Even if one's light is at its very dimmest you just never know: that little glow might just be the one light that helps break the darkness in someone else's world. You are that light for me Jenny...<3

JDaniel4's Mom said...

This is so well said. There are many that struggle during the holidays.

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

Very well said Jenny.

I'm determined to have all the lights glowing brightly this Christmas. The last two Christmases Reid was undergoing chemo and feeling pretty crummy. This Christmas he'll be ready to celebrate...and eat. My husband was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer this past October. He's feeling OK now, so we're going to live in the moment and enjoy the day. After all, no one knows from one heartbeat to the next what is going to happen. We need to flick the switch and get all the lights glowing.

Terra said...

I just finished hooking my stand up to yours...and while I may still be waiting for the lights to shine bright through the dark, I am here and I hear you and Jenny, I adore you.

Terra said...

Boy, my comment would have made sense if I could spell...let me try again:

I just finished hooking my STRAND up to yours...and while I may still be waiting for the lights to shine bright through the dark, I am here and I hear you and Jenny, I adore you.

Judie said...

About 15 years ago, we bought an artifical tree that had all the lights on it. Not a one has ever burned out. HAHA HAHAHA HA HA!!
xoxo

Country Dreaming said...

May you have a Christmas full of love, light and life!

Merry Christmas!

Love you!

Melinda

anitamombanita said...

Beautifully said! May your Christmas be merry and bright!!

Ms. A said...

I'm hoping to find a flicker of light... on December 26th. I've almost made it!

Francisca said...

Amen to this, Jenny. I'm not surrounded by sparkly lights, but the light in my heart heart shines brightly. I know what matters. May this holiday season be all you want it to be.

Leovi said...

With cheap lights have to be careful, a friend of mine set fire to the Christmas tree and burned to the curtains.
I wish you all the best during the holidays to you and those around you.