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  • James Pate

Christmas Lights

Dear friends

My dad always insisted that the Christmas tree lights should only be switched on after dark. Except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Then they could stay on all day.

Looking back, I wonder why he did this. To save money? To create a sense of expectation? To make Christmas Day special? Whatever his intention, it worked.

Some of our lights were on a circuit that had been made by my dad when he returned from the Second World War, fifteen years before I was born. There were no Christmas lights on sale, so my dad rigged some up as best as he could. The bulbs were much larger than they should have been, but his family had Christmas lights when I guess many didn’t. As I grew up, replacing bulbs became a unique family tradition. By the late 60`s there were few available and my dad started to paint any usable bulbs that he could find. Eventually we couldn’t get the bulbs, so my dad gave up and bought a set like everyone else’s.

I guess that these post-war bulbs were the least attractive in the neighbourhood. It didn’t matter. They had a story. Our story. My father’s story. Somehow when I tell this story, I feel that I’m in contact with him. The memory moves to the present. I experience my father’s love. He was the sort of father who would find a way to have Christmas lights, even if everyone else didn’t.

Every Christmas, we come back to the same story. Angels. Shepherds. Mary, Joseph, Magi, Jesus. We have a story. Our story. Our Father’s story. We tell it and connect again to the love of our Father. We allow the memory to move to the present.

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son ….

In his grace, with a prayer that this Christmas you will connect to the love of your Father in heaven.


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