LightsMost all of the Christmas lights are down now. More neighbors than usual put them up this year. I enjoyed the displays driving home from work every day.

The lights in my neighborhood were not the only lights we saw this season. We saw the lights at the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, with my sister. That was an adventure; the three of us romping around the Plaza like we owned the place. Then the drive through our local light park – this was the first year we tried to capture some of the magnificent displays with our phone cameras.

The holidays are almost always a happy time for me. I remember my mom, and I am thankful for the birth of the Messiah. There is magic in the air, and what I usually see is people treating others with a warmth and kindness that doesn’t always flow the rest of the year.

Something odd happened this year, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Christmas was drawn out due to weather and sickness. Travel plans were scrapped, and we still hadn’t seen everyone we had planned to see until the weekend before school started again.

Maybe because of the stress, illness and the stretched out season, tension was high and people stepped on each others’ nerves. Some darkness crept into the season this year. The world may seem dark like that sometimes, but if you let yourself really see the lights, you appreciate them even more as they punctuate the darkness and show the way to something better.