Several days ago I began putting up the outside Christmas lights. Several of the younger families in our neighborhood had already begun ahead of me. To set this devotional in context, may I mention to you that we are the oldest residents on our block both in age and longevity of ownership. We go back far enough to remember some of the original owners who built around 1960 when Nall Hills was developed. We have been in our home for 44 years.
In the last two years we have had a large turnover of new residents on our street. Most of the new people are young couples buying their first home and welcoming new children into their lives. Please don’t close John Diemer Elementary school. It will be bursting at the seams in a few years.
We also have our LGBTQ+ couples among the folks, and on walks in the neighborhood we all share greetings and visits about new trends in yard care, the trash service and admire the new family additions, both two and four footed. It is a good street to live on. It is not quite as diverse as Sesame Street, but edging more that way.
As I finished with that day’s work on the lights and the sunlight was fading, I turned to survey my young neighbors’ displays. They were all nicely done, arranged with care and looked lovely. I was pleased, but as I turned back to look at our house, I realized with a bit of embarrassment that while all of theirs were done in a single color or shade, that ours was a collection of colors, shades and styles.
There were strands from each epoch of the the lives that Suzanne and I have shared. There were the stands from our days of graduate studies and early careers. There were those that came along and survived when the boys were little, followed by those of the years of elementary school, some of which were holiday school projects. Then there were those from the expanding years of high school and the “home for the holidays” time of college, followed by the empty nest years, subsequently followed by the “Are the grandkids coming this year?” years and and more recently, in retirement, the “Are you going to their house this year or are they coming here?” years.
Each stage had added its strand of lights or decorative addition of wreaths or small decorative artificial trees for the front porch or window. There was no master plan, but lots of dear memories. It all came back to me as gratitude welled up in my heart and my eyes moistened.
As I was standing there, the thought came to me that our light display is some what like the diversity of our world’s peoples and cultures. We are all hoping to find our way home, but we may be going about it following many different paths of light. Whatever path is meaningful for us, I think that the Christ Child would want us to respect one another’s paths as others are choosing what seems to be “Home By Another Way.”