By Grace Enojo
“Let your light shine before men, so that they will see your good works, and glorify your Father in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16
There is a distinct chill in the air, and the darkness comes to swallow the light of day much earlier. Yet not long after, the stars seem to come within reach in colorful clusters. No, these are not stars; these are Christmas lights. It’s the most wonderful time of the year again.
Lights in every shape, size, color, and style are brought out from their boxes underneath a year’s worth of dust bunnies. They are then hung onto almost every nook and cranny imaginable. It’s that time of year again when every city becomes its own City of Lights and everything seems to shine bright, yes, like diamonds.
I enjoy this display of lights every Christmas season, and every year my family and I would just drive around the city to see the lights put up by different houses and establishments. We decided to do so after eating out last Friday, and we realized that there were very few that you can see around despite Christmas day being a few days away.
This is not a surprise, given the painful experiences we Filipinos had to endure this year: from the Pork Barrel Scam, to the Zamboanga war, to the earthquake in Bohol, and to the Typhoon Yolanda. It seems there’s just not much to be merry about this year. Putting-up so much opulent decorations when many of our fellow Filipinos have no roof over their heads is a big form of insult to the latter, right? Yes and no.
Yes, it is downright insensitive to have such extravagant Christmas decorations when many have lost what little that they do have. This was my perspective as well for the past few weeks. This was changed, however, when my grandmother told me this: “Put up your lights this Christmas season for those who can’t put up any.” I did not understand this at first, thinking that this is just another way of justifying the gap between the haves and have-nots. However, I remembered the years when I was still a child when we were going around the city as we were doing then: me, sticking my face to the window as I was mesmerized by the twinkling lights as we passed by.
There was a simple joy in just looking at those lights. It was as if reminding me that there is always, always something to be glad about and thankful for no matter how many tears I’d shed over skinned knees or stolen dolls in the months past. It was this simple, fleeting yet profound moment that stopped me in my tracks and made me rethink.
I reiterated by grandmother’s words to myself, and I remembered a scene in the 80s teen flick “Pretty in Pink”. Andie Walsh and her friend Duckie were driving around a village, house-watching. At one point, Andie stops her car in front of the house which she deemed as her favorite and says: “You know, I don’t think the people who own it think it’s half as pretty as I do.” It was then that it made sense.
Putting-up Christmas lights can no longer just be about seeing who has bigger, brighter lights. You can put it up for those who cannot be able to put up Christmas lights in their own homes, as well. You’ll never know how much happiness and joy the simple sight of your lights can bring to someone else.
It can be about sharing, too. Share the light of your home to those who are left in the darkness. In the same way, may we be reminded to share the Light that is Jesus Christ to those who are experiencing darkness in their lives in any and every way that we can. Not just for this Christmas season, but for every day of the year as well.