1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:1-5 ESV
One of the things that my family has always liked to do is drive around and look at Christmas lights. I know that this is a tradition for many families and mine is no different. I remember from a very young age driving around with my parents and looking at all of the houses that were decorated for Christmas.
Unfortunately, we no longer do this as much as we used to. Maybe it is because gas costs a lot more than it did back in 1970 or maybe it’s because our lives are busier (or we just think they are anyway), but whatever the reason, we don’t do this as often anymore as we should.
I remember sitting in the back seat of the car, singing songs with my brother and sister, while we drove to town to see the lights. I even remember making the hour and a half drive to a town just to see their lights. It was about the only time of the year that we would even venture into this town, but their lights always seemed better than all of the rest. Looking back on it now, it was probably just because it was distant and new to my eyes each year that made them seem better. But regardless I always looked forward to this trip.
Last night, I had the opportunity to go out to dinner with my wife and my mother. Then we drove the 45 minutes to take my mother home. On the way I had the chance to relive some of those childhood memories as we drove along and looked at the houses that were decorated for Christmas.
As we drove, we would ooh and ahh at some, laugh at others, and make comments about those that we really thought were ugly. This got me to thinking about the different ways that people decorate their houses for Christmas.
1. The Charlie Brown House – this house has very little in the way of Christmas lights. However, there is always that one solitary tree in the yard that has had some lights thrown on it. And if a tree is not available then there are usually just lights that line the front door. Driving past this house reminds one of A Charlie Brown’s Christmas.
2. The Multi-Color Extravaganza – this house will have every part of the house covered in multi-colored lights. There will be lights on the porch, around the door, up the stairs, and of course around the railings of the porch. And if there is a fence, you can be that there will be multi-colored lights around the fence in the yard as well. Bushes and trees that grow in the front yard are also fair game for a couple of strands of lights.
3. The Spotlight House – this house is exquisitely decorated with just the right amount of white lights to highlight the house. You can also count on this house containing at least one perfectly symmetrical wreath on the front door, however, it is perfectly acceptable for this house to contain multiple wreaths, as long as they are exactly the same and all are evenly lit. This homeowner has taken much care in making sure that the spotlights on the lawn cast the proper amount of shadow and light on their masterpiece. I always enjoy looking at these houses but I can’t help but think that the people who live there have their lives a little bit more together than I do.
4. The Tim (the Toolman) Taylor Griswold House – These are the houses that everyone looks for these days when it comes to Christmas decorations. These homeowners not only have to outdo everyone in their city, county, and state but they want to make Clark Griswold proud of their display of Christmas cheer. Each inch of the property is covered with some sort of decoration and some sort of light. These homeowners measure the success of their decorations in the numbers of cars tied up in the traffic jam out front. If you pass by one of these homes be careful because small planes have been known to mistake them for airports.
5. The Grinch – this house has no decorations, no lights, no tree showing through the window, just darkness. As you pass by this house you can not help but wonder if those people are home. And if they are home, do they celebrate Christmas. Maybe they do and just don’t have the time or money to show off their lights to the world. (Maybe they are lazy like me and don’t take the time to decorate the outside of their houses). Maybe they don’t believe in Christmas.
You have seen all of these houses as you drive through your neighborhoods during the Christmas season. And just as I have done here, we all are guilty of passing judgment on some of these homeowners just because we liked the way their houses looked, didn’t like the way they looked, or didn’t see any decorations.
The problem is that I do not know any of these homeowners. It would be foolish to think that I could make a judgement on these people just by the way that they chose to decorate their homes. The fact is that we do that every day. We make assumptions based on little or no actual information about people.
Christmas is a time of celebration. A time to remember the birth of Christ and a time to look forward to His return. It is time of inclusion, not exclusion. A time of togetherness, not separation. A time to share, a time to give.
Let us not forget during this season that Jesus Christ was born for all of us. Not just those that decorate the same way we do.
Which category does your house fall in?