A CHRISTMAS TRIP TO LIGHTING BLISS

Posted: December 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Quite a bit is going on in our world at this time.  Russia rhetoric, Syrian refugees from a horrible civil war, ISIS/ISL terrorism, Taliban in Afghanistan, German murder by Islamic extremist and a porous European border not to mention that we are about to have a new president that will be about as far from our sitting president as one can get are all current events that promise worldwide sensationalism.  Instead of homing in on any one of these or countless other stories going on in the world, let’s take one more week to observe the holiday that is a part of the fabric of our nation and countries around the world.  We will then resume looking at the world outside of the magnificent period of time we call Christmas, a point in time each year that a person can feel the presence of optimism, love and charity by merely being present and allowing the time of the season to envelop you.

Over the Christmas Holiday period, which starts the day after Thanksgiving, the Christmas lighting begins. This is such a magical time. Radio Stations such as FM 98.3 begin non-stop carols. Churches provide special music and messages that identify the true meaning of Christmas while municipalities and individuals begin hanging Christmas lights to celebrate the holiday season with light.

The first Christmas lights were candles attached to the branches of Christmas Trees and represented the Christmas star. They were originally attached to the trees with melted wax. Later small candle holders were clipped to the trees. I remember my mother telling me of how her father would clip the candles to the tree and light the candles. Everyone would stand back for a moment and then quickly extinguish the candles less there would be an accident and burn down the house.

In 1895 President Grover Cleveland used electric lights on the Presidents Christmas Tree for the first time. General Electric began producing electric light strings for decorating and these strings possessed eight sockets for lights. By 1900 stores were decorating their windows with lights inside the stores. San Diego had the first outside lights in 1904. Even though General Electric sponsored lighting contests to promote the Christmas lights it was not until the mid-50s that residential lights began to become a common part of American culture. I remember as a child Claiborne Electric running lights across main street in down town Farmerville. The lights crisscrossed the street and the lights were small colored electric lights, not just the traditional C9 lights. It looked like driving through a lighted cave. Later these were replaced with the more traditional lighted decorations we have in place today.

How far we have come since the early days of Christmas lighting. Christmas Eve Bonnie and I drove to Jonesboro to see the light show we had heard so much about. As we turned onto main street the sight was eye popping. Jonesboro did it right. Stores, government buildings and trees running down the median were ablaze with Christmas lights. One block off the street there is a light-covered walk way, a lighted village for pictures and even a carriage ride. What a beautiful way to celebrate the birth of Jesus and what a lovely end to the Christmas season.

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