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"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." G.K.Chesterton

"You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." G.K.Chesterton

"As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that."C. S. Lewis

"I blog, therefore I am." Anon

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Xmas lite(s)

In Australia Christmas falls in the middle of summer, so while all the accoutrements of a wintry yuletide – Santa, snow, sleighs, etc. – adorn buildings, cards, displays and advertising signs – for Australians its a sweltering, scorching and humid time and thus most sensible people spend their sub-tropical summer wearing as little as possible, clutching cold drinks, and lying on the beach or reclining in front of the TV in air-conditioned coolness.

One fad that has been popular in the suburbs over the last decade is the annual Christmas lights display in which homeowners cover their homes and front yards with fantastical light shows in an effort to capture the magic of the season.

Some of these can be quite elaborate with neighbours joining in - or competing with each other – to turn whole streets into the space ship from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Bus tours of senior citizens and carloads of family groups crawl through suburban streets each night oohing and aahing at the wonder of it all.

Seen during the day without lights against a backdrop of darkness there is nothing there - the emperor has no clothes! Just a typical boring front yard in a typical boring suburban street. But come the night all this changes.

The cynic could say this is just another example of the trivialisation, secularisation and Hollywoodisation of Christmas, the triumph of style over substance which characterises modern popular culture... But the kids love it.

What is it about a few – or many - coloured electric lights that transforms bland suburban yards into fairyland? And that evokes wonder among children and warm and fuzzy feelings of goodwill among adults? Perhaps there is some subconscious instinct or memory in humans that recognises light as symbolic of a transforming and transcending power.

Jesus said, I am the light of the world... the light that lights every person.

Of course Jesus is the last thing on the minds of most people at Xmas lite displays.

10:25:00 am