Beautiful Lights

Carillon Park, Dayton, Ohio

Have you ever missed something that was right in front of you? You were searching for something grand and majestic, yet missing the beauty that was right there all along. Recently, this occurred to me during Thanksgiving weekend.

The family decided to ride around looking at Christmas lights. Like any place, there are some famous spots for “light peeping”. Well, it was cold and rainy that night and the usual locations were not very impressive. So, someone suggested an old, well-known park that has been there forever. We ride up and see the most inspiring light display. We get out in the rain and mud and make our way under the bell tower that has been lit up in the shape of a tree.

It was absolutely awe-inspiring! All of us stand there with our mouths open and soak up this sacred moment in silence. As we stand there, the moment was further enhanced as the majestic sounds of a bell toll overhead.

How had I missed this? I spent much of my childhood in this town and had never visited this park at Christmas. In fact, it took someone from out of town to get me to visit that night.

Ironically, just like many people missed the Light that came into the world thousands of years ago, we often miss the beautiful lights all around us. Jesus didn’t make a grand entrance into the world. He didn’t come the way many expected him to arrive. He didn’t fit the image and he didn’t “dress” the part. God incarnate arrived as a poor refugee, seeking asylum, with questionable parentage.

During this Advent season, I encourage you to be open to the signs that the Light that arrived in a manger, is alive and working today. The Christ-light is always shining. Our challenge is to recognize it when we see it. It may not come in the package you were hoping for. It may have been there all along. Shining in the face of that homeless person you pass without a second thought or that neighbor you never speak to. My friends, there are beautiful lights shining all around us every day. Shining brightly through people we least expect and in places we dread going. Will you see them?

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