When our girls were small, one of our little Christmas traditions was driving past a row of houses on the 1200 block of Tattersall near Blenkinsop called “Candy Cane Lane.” The decorations were clever and fun, and the street sign name was even changed to “Candy Cane Lane” over the holidays every year.
It took months for the residents at that time to set the displays up, and it became very popular. Hundreds and hundreds of people would walk, ride bikes, or drive past that block of houses every year. It finally closed down in 1999 as many residents in the neighbourhood grew older, and some moved away, but a few of the decorations were passed on to other people and are still displayed today.
These days, you can find maps to homes that are decorated for the holidays online through various media websites. We’ve decided that this year we’re going to check some of them out, just for old times’ sake.
Decorations are a big part of Christmas, but for me, it’s all about the lights. Fancy, sparkling, happy lights. The more lights, the merrier I am.
Firelight, sunlight, candlelight and Christmas lights. Light is something we all need enough of to keep going, not just physically but mentally and emotionally too.
We need enough light to see our way. We need sunlight to get our doses of vitamin D. Some of us require light therapy to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SADS. Any natural night we can expose ourselves to helps us to maintain our good health. And humans need energy from the plants we eat, and oxygen from trees, which require light in order to grow and thrive.
Light is a metaphor for things like awareness, ideas and hope. A lightbulb goes off at the top of your head. We begin to see the light, or go from darkness into light. A smile is a light that brightens up a room.
Here in the northern hemisphere, we have been experiencing shorter days and less light leading up to winter. Our shortest day of the year, December 21st is coming up. This always happily reminds me that the days are going to start getting longer again. But this year, another special event is happening up in the starry, starry night on December 21st.
There will be a great “conjunction” of Jupiter and Saturn, where the two planets will appear as though they are right beside each other. Some are calling it 2020’s Christmas Star. Maybe it’s the universe trying to light the way and give us a little hope. That’s what I’d like to think, anyway.
With vaccines beginning to trickle into the earth’s population starting this week, I do feel more hope. Maybe it’s the end of the beginning, or at least a small human triumph to cling to. Oh, there are still going to be plenty of hurdles, along with many more COVID cases, before we can literally breathe freely at last. And vaccines aren’t necessarily perfect either.
But our human resilience, our determination, and those vaccines, are going to help get us past all of this darkness we’ve been going through. We are now beginning to, just barely, see the light at the end of the tunnel.