Driving into my neighborhood recently I noticed that some of my neighbors still have their Christmas lights up and some of them still turn them on at night even though we are now into March. I chalk it up to the fact that there is snow on the ground and getting to the decorations is probably challenging. It doesn’t bother me. It’s just an observation.
I bring it up because of a story I read online. It’s a story of a lady in New York, Long Island I believe, who received a letter from an anonymous source telling her to take her Christmas lights down as it is Valentine’s Day and Christmas is long past. The article goes on to explain that normally this may have upset the lady with the lights still up. However, she had recently lost her father and her aunt to Covid a week apart. Hoping that this anonymous letter writer might see it, she posted a letter on the neighborhood moms’ Facebook page expressing that due to funeral arrangements, mounting bills and financial concerns, and just the grieving process in general, that they have not been able to get out and take down the lights.
The neighborhood was outraged at the letter this lady had received. They started a “go fund me” page to raise money for her mortgage and utility payments, sent her letters of encouragement with gift cards, and defended her inability to get the lights down. In fact, many of the neighbors dug out their Christmas lights, going up into the attic or down into the basement, and put them up on their houses again, lighting them up and lighting up the neighborhood in unity with their grieving neighbor.
You just never know what someone may be going through. In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Sometimes our light is a distress signal. Sometimes our light is a warning to stay alert to our surroundings. But, all the time our light should be a reflection of Jesus living in us. Are you the lady who hasn’t taken down her lights because you are in need? Are you the neighbor who sent the letter insisting the lights come down without understanding the situation? Are you part of the community that banned together in order to help a neighbor in need? Be honest when you answer.
Let’s let our light shine in such a way that our neighbor in distress wouldn’t have to post a letter on Facebook. Let’s let our light shine in such a way that we already know our neighbor is mourning and have been there to bring comfort, maybe money, and maybe a ladder to take the lights down for her.