Monday, December 17

advent 2007

It was one of my favorite Christmas Eve traditions. My brother and I would get the rusty old wheelbarrow from the back of the garage, and push it creaking up to a neighbor’s house. Then we’d fill it full of sand and push it back home to begin setting up our luminaries.

It wasn’t just a family tradition, it was a neighborhood tradition. Outside nearly every home, neighbors would fill white bags with sand, push a candle into the bottom, and line the street with the luminaries. As the sun began to set, just before heading out to the Christmas Eve service at church, my brother and I would race up and down the edge of our yard lighting all the candles. By the time we returned that evening, the whole neighborhood was aglow. With only our parking lights on, my Dad would drive slowly along the streets, and we’d all savor the view.

Until we got closer to our house. Our most immediate neighbors never participated. While I believe they had every right to abstain from the luminary tradition, it just seemed so . . . dark. After a mile or so of tiny, dancing white lights along the street, there was a break. A hole. A darkness made more profound because of the lights shining on either side.

In the song that is part of this church’s Christmas Eve tradition, we are all commanded to “show forth the heavenly light.” In my own life, I need to work harder to be sure I’m not like my childhood neighbors. I need be sure God’s light can shine through me, combining with the light of all who worship and serve here, helping our whole community glow and feel his warmth.
– Ginger Heidel

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