"I love this part." It warms my heart to hear four year old Nadia say those words about a Bon Iver song. She's got good taste if I do say so myself. The song is playing in the car as the three of us set out; Ben, myself, and Nadia, to do some christmas light searching. As the song reaches a glorious crescendo, Nadia blurts out, "We have to sing loud Christina! We have to sing with the trumpets!" Christmas suddenly appears in that moment, accompanied by holy sounds of Bon Iver, and the clash of Christmas lights decorating various neighborhood homes. It is a brilliant moment. And I am reminded to glory in that moment, to take it slow, and to marvel at the Santa "Jack in the Box" that stands in our neighbors yard amidst their collection of other "christmas goodies" on display. Sometimes this time of year can feel a little overwhelming. Stepping into a mall can feel like sipping a vanilla, double chocolate frappacino with extra caramel and whip cream. Sickeningly sweet. You can cut the air with Mrs. Claus's knitting needles, the atmosphere thick with the sounds of rushing shoppers frantically running into Hallmark or See's Candy to find something to send to Great Aunt Gertrude. In these moments of feeling overrun with the Yuletide bustle, I usually just console myself with an Auntie Annie's butter and salt pretzel and call it good. Merry Christmas to me.
I guess the point I am getting at is I was thankful last night to have a four year old redirect my attention to the things that matter, to the things that make this season special, like spending time with two people that I love very much, finding beauty in the light displays, and making some sense out of the chaos that occurs on a daily basis in this life. And those Christmas lights really are a beauty to behold on these nights where the cold bites your bones. I shouldn't judge when I see a tacky light display paired with a tasteless blow-up Santa and Raindeer. Even though I usually go for a classy snowglobe yard display myself, I can recognize that at least that household decided to shed some more light in the neighborhood. Light that drives away some of the deep dark. Yes, tacky christmas lights can do that.