And Then I Went AWOL.

Hi. Sorry. I was just doing some pre-Christmas freak out and I didn’t really deem it blogworthy. I’m sure later on in the month I’ll have rants a-plenty on mindless consumerism, unrealistic expectations, family pressure, and a lot of other things. But for now, I have been enjoying the Christmas lights.

There’s a lot about Christmas that I don’t like. But that’s mostly my own issues. I have a lot of sadness about Christmas, also a lot of anger and some resentment.  Season with guilt for that extra flourish, and you’ve got a ticking time bomb of a holiday!

Anyhow, whatever else I feel about the Holiday Season, I do love the lights. They broadcast hope and kindness. They thaw the cynical icicle in my heart enough that I don’t actually turn into a ranting, rabid wild woman who stands on buses and accuses perfectly decent people of unspeakable acts. The lights calm me.

There is something about a house with Christmas lights on that says to me, “It’s okay. We are lighting the darkness. We are keeping it at bay.” I love to see a Christmas tree lit up in someone’s living room window. It says, “Tradition is here. It’s okay.” I love the balconies, cranes, boats, trees, bushes, and whatever else people hang lights on. They tell me, “We are here. Humanity is here, and we have used our opposable thumbs to fight back at the darkness. It’s okay.”

When I lived at my parents’ house, the lights on the Christmas tree were my duty. Always. I untangled them, fussed with the old sockets, replaced the dead bulbs, and strung the long wires on the tree. The lights go first, before any decorations. You need to spread them evenly, too, so that no one colour is over-represented, no one place on the tree is over-lit. There’s a system.

After everything went on the tree, from the ghastly play-dough sequinned and painted homemade ones, to the carnival glass birds, to the Winnie-The-Pooh baubles, to the gobbets of tinsel I tried to even out, we turned out the lights and admired our creation.

My mom and dad and brother would drift away to do other things, watch the news or do some math homework. But I stayed and looked at the tree. There in our dark living room, in the glowing, shining silence, the tree sang a silent song of hope and peace and perfect loveliness.

And even now, when I see Christmas lights, I feel an echo of that still and glowing beauty, and I think, “Hey. It’s okay.”

6 Comments to “And Then I Went AWOL.”

  1. By cheesefairy, December 8, 2008 @ 11:19 am

    For the past week I have been taking my crazy children out for a walk around the neighbourhood as soon as it’s dark so we can look at the lights. it chills them right out.

    ...except the one house that has its front decorated with lights in the shape of a giant santa’s head. that one makes me happy but I think it scares the kids a bit.

  2. By Deb, December 8, 2008 @ 10:36 pm

    I have always loved being in a darkened room looking at a lit Christmas tree. A lovely sense of peace envelopes me. I could watch it for hours. Better than T.V.

  3. By Arwen, December 9, 2008 @ 9:30 pm

    One year I got to sit in front of a Christmas tree with real candles and lead tinsel. It was gorgeous and dangerous.

  4. By Liz, December 9, 2008 @ 10:45 pm

    Cheesefairy, the lights are calming, but the giant Santa head? A little disturbing. Kind of like a Santa/John the Baptist mix. Icky.

    Deb, it’s great, isn’t it?

    Arwen, so dangerous, but how beautiful!

  5. By stephanie, December 10, 2008 @ 9:01 am

    I will try to get a picture of my neighbor’s Christmas lights. It’s very Clark Griswald, but fun anyway.

  6. By cheesefairy, December 11, 2008 @ 9:04 am

    Santa/ John the Baptist is EXACTLY IT!!

    Now you have to make a trip out to see it. Or I suppose I could try to get a picture. Less public transit involved that way.

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