See how some lights on our Christmas tree are really bright and others are much dimmer? That’s the result of having a variety of light manufacturers represented on a single tree. Some of those little lights were born around ’07 and have a golden glow – like tiny licks of candlelight. But those, I found out last year, have been discontinued. So for our 2017 tree, I bought enough “warm” LED lights to get the job done – thinking we’d be all set for years to come. That *might’ve* worked out. I’ll never know, because stringing the lights this year, I knelt on one of those LED bulbs and shattered it. (Luckily, my knee blood did not stain a single thing.) If you’re thinking, “That’s okay, just go into your Ziploc bag of replacement bulbs and replace the shattered one” – I would agree that would make sense. You would be shocked to learn, as I was, that in that plastic sack of vintage bulbs, there was no replacement to be found. “No problem”, I said, “I’ll just get a new string of the same lights I bought last year.” Except, plot twist: they were out of stock.
So, at this point, I was annoyed. Not like foaming at the mouth annoyed. But for sure *deep* internal eye roll annoyed. And I thought, “Why?! Why can’t anything just be simple?” I went to another store and bought the only white lights I could find, because the kids would be getting home from school and I didn’t want to add neglect to my list of accomplishments for the day.
I quickly realized that the lights, as expected, did not match. But there was something lovely about it, I told myself. Something akin to stars in the sky – some closer, or bigger, or brighter- and some piercing the darkness for ages before reaching our eyes. And I wondered why I do that thing…that thing where I get tricked into thinking something matters when it doesn’t matter at all. What did I think was going to happen? The world would stop turning, or Christmas wouldn’t come, or my 10 year old would dip into the scotch, all because the lights on the Christmas tree were different shades of white?
So here’s my Christmas promise. When I get annoyed, or something isn’t going how I think it should, I’m going to look at our Christmas tree with it’s mismatched lights. I’m going to remember why we’re celebrating – a Baby born in a stable under a star. I really love Him and I really love what He taught – that we should just love each other and the rest is never as important as it seems. For me, those tree lights are going to be Light illuminating my sometimes dark brain in a sometimes dark world – and I’ll remember the only thing that really matters at all.