Ah, it is that time of year again!
The Christmas decorations are unpacked from their cardboard tombs in attics, garage spaces, and storage units. The annual ritual of carefully unrolling the bundled outdoor lights accompanied by hours of troubleshooting the dead bulbs can only be soothed with happy holiday music playing in the background (or a few shots of your favorite beverages).
Every year, we swear that we will pack up the lights and decorations carefully so that NEXT year, we will not have to deal with these holiday headaches. However, eleven months later, we always mumble those words – “Why did I pack away these lights and decorations in this lousy way???”
But alas, after the long hours of labor and love, we stand back to admire the hard work of decorating the outside of our homes (I have visions of Chevy Chase plugging and unplugging his electrical cords).
The nightfall revives these illuminated decorations and the child in us comes alive!
The next morning, lawn ornaments fall and the facade returns to normal (except for the wreaths or other non-electrical ornaments). There is a lesson I see in the day time of the holiday season….
To support the delightful illuminations, one must appreciate the tethered source of power – the many wires and electrical cords hidden in plain sight. Some are concealed to create an immaculate display while other people simply lay the cords freely as a sign of pure exhaustion from the troubleshooting activities.
I observed a neighbor’s beautiful lawn decorations and a thought came to mind – the output is nothing without the input.
In my previous life as a performer or even as a current speaker to audiences of all types, the performance time is a representation of the preparation efforts leading up to the event. The more you prepare, the more time it will require of you. No one sees or appreciates the backstage efforts because this is not why people come to see you or the event. All they care about are the results.
The community comes together to appreciate the fanciful decorations of the holidays by those who choose to take the extra time and effort to decorate for their neighborhood. Children come with wide eyes, loud squeals, and excitement in their voices as they point to the next great decoration. Adults enjoy the atmosphere of the holidays with memories of their own childhood.
Yes, Christmas is a great time for creating and reliving memories that will be implanted into our hearts and minds forever.
Even after all that frustrating preparation time of untangling wires, checking light bulbs, climbing up and down ladders, and even the occasional pokes of the skin from those darn wired tentacles, the joy comes from the admiration of others as they drive by your home.
The takeaway (for me at least) is that the hidden or exposed sources of power represents the long hours of preparation for the ultimate purpose of performing for the neighborhood.
I see this in the upbringing of my own children. We always hear the phrase – they grow up so fast (or similar) – but their transformations have been paved with years of preparation or the proverbial cords of life.
So as you enjoy your neighbor’s “exterior illumination”, remember their efforts for your benefit. They may even appreciate a “thank you” from their admirers because just like all performers, the audience feedback is their reward.
Happy cruising through your neighborhood but remember the real reason for this season – it is about the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.