A Glow In The Darkness Is The Best Gift Of All

In May 2013 a columnist by the name of Craig Wilson took his final bow after a buyout from his employer, USA Today. He wrote a Wednesday column called “The Final Word” for more than sixteen years. His weekly writing – regardless of subject matter – provided readers a unique, thoughtful take on even the most take-for-granted aspects of daily life.

One of his columns dealt with December decorations…specifically, displays that display a depth of feeling that make passers-by smile and project the spirit of the Holidays upon them.

As those who celebrate Christmas start to strip their gears over all sorts of “issues” that are anything but…I dust off this little reminder of how magical the Season can be.

A Glow In The Darkness Is The Best Gift Of All

Every December, a neighbor of ours opens his dining room shutters and lets in the world.

A floor-to-ceiling tree, laden with ornaments and white lights, fills the bay window. Underneath it is spread an assortment of antique toys. Original Raggedy Ann books, a model train engine from the Pennsylvania Railroad, a fire truck and an assortment of old stuffed animals. An elephant. A bear. A well-loved floppy-eared rabbit sporting a winter sweater and seated in a wicker sleigh, ready to glide.

The window, which is right on the sidewalk and perfect for viewing, has become a holiday tradition in the neighborhood. Like many, I make a detour on my nightly dog walk just to pass by.

I know there will come a Christmas when the display won’t be there, but until then, I happily take in the annual offering, just as I used to take in the mesmerizing holiday windows years ago at Sibley’s department store in Rochester, N.Y.

The magic of our neighborhood window, however, is that there’s nothing commercial about it. My neighbor offers up the display every year purely for the joy it might give a passerby, not to make a sale or hype a product.

It’s perhaps the simplest of Christmas gifts, which also makes it the best.

When I was walking Maggie the other night, I watched as a young mother and father pointed out the various toys to their daughter. She was maybe 3 or 4 and in her father’s arms. From the look on her face, you’d have thought she was in another world. Maybe she was.

And then the trio strolled away, happy perhaps in the belief that they’d just had one of the most pleasant and innocent experiences of their hectic holiday. A serendipity of the season.

When I was growing up in the country, Christmas displays like my neighbor’s window were not abundant.

But I remember being impressed that someone would take the time and effort to hang, say, a single strand of multicolored lights around their barn door. Or wrap a lamp pole with lights, aglow at the end of the lane. A lonely beacon in the night.

My dad did the same.

Christmas after Christmas, he would run the world’s longest extension cord across the snow-covered front yard, down to a tiny fir tree that proudly stood sentinel by the side of the road.

He covered the tree with what seemed like thousands of lights, and every night at 5, he turned them on with all the flourish of lighting the tree at Rockefeller Center.

I’ve often wondered what people thought as they drove down this country road, in the middle of nowhere, and came upon a solitary tree glowing in the December darkness.

Maybe they thought it was the prettiest thing they ever saw. Maybe they saw it as a gift.

Maybe they realized someone was just sharing his joy. Nothing to sell. No agenda in mind. Something done just for the joy of it. Like my neighbor’s magical window.

And maybe that’s what it’s all about.

Merry Christmas.

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About sportsattitudes

I'm Bruce. Born, raised and still outside Philadelphia PA. Managed (so far) to visit a dozen US states (most just one time each) and Canada (twice). 50-plus years - married 30-plus years. Love massive quantities of sports, television and movies (viewed in a movie theater).
This entry was posted in Blog, Blogging, Christianity, Christmas, Craig Wilson, Culture, Faith, Family, Holidays, Home, Life, Opinion, People, Personal, Religion, Spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to A Glow In The Darkness Is The Best Gift Of All

  1. Merry Christmas to you and yours. May your light keep shining brightly 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. spearfruit says:

    Very nice – thanks Bruce for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennie says:

    Wonderful. Just wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a beautiful story! Thank you for such and uplifting post! K. D. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Pen and Paper and commented:
    I am so touched by this beautiful uplifting story posted by Bruce on his blog, sportsattitudes! I just had to share! Wonderful. Karen

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mired in the muck of this retail season….I want to BE in that cabin…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ChgoJohn says:

    A wonderful post, Bruce. Makes me long for a simpler time. Children may be wowed by the houses with lights that blink in tune with blaring music but the little ones’ eyes light up when they see a tree simply decorated, with wrapped presents underneath.
    I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and an even better 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

    • John, I also long for that simpler time. Then again we’re lucky and grateful we had that era at all. Generations post-technology will never experience it. Looking forward to 2017… and the very best to you and yours for the Holidays and beyond. Stay Cooking my friend!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. George says:

    Great story, Bruce. Sometimes less is more. Merry Christmas..:)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. As one who has spent many late nights driving down dark rural roads around Christmas , I can’t tell you how breathtaking it was to round a curve and see some bright Chistmas lights alone in the dark dark night on gate or tree. I always though that farm/ranch knows joy and silent night for real.
    What a great memory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We always take at least a couple drives “around” to seek out not only the obvious displays of the Season but the subtle, simplest ones as well. They ultimately leave the biggest – and most lasting – impressions on me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • (OK proof things are not as quite as advertised: Always hurt and overly dramatic “Oh I have an ouchy. Still” Clowney nominated for ProBowl? Seriously? How much did his agent pay them…)
        It’s not Christmas without driving around to see lights….besides how else would Santa get things put together or wrapped in time?
        Merry Christmas to you and yours. May much joy and cheer find you

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Steph McCoy says:

    Sounds so magical and has me longing for days gone by. Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. reocochran says:

    This really was a special post! I love the simplicity of one single tree close to the road with many lights. Your Dad offering up a light as a gift to travelers, in the night of the countryside. The tree with antique toys is also a wonderful treat. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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