It is what it is: Lighting up the darkness

It’s time for Christmas lights.

My wife will argue that our Christmas lights should not be turned on until after Thanksgiving (and that they should be turned off on Jan. 2), but it’s getting pretty dark out these days, and I think we all could use some bright, twinkling lights.

The first weekend in November has become the weekend I put up our Christmas lights. Actually, I only have to put half of them up, because I haven’t taken down the ones along the roofline in several years. You’ve got to appreciate how long those LED lights last.

I will also point out that, when we did a house remodel a few years ago, we installed an exterior power outlet up under the eaves, connected to a switch inside, so I no longer have to run an extension cord up the side of the house. I honestly don’t know why builders don’t include that as a feature in new construction, but it gives me the ability to flip on Christmas lights any time I need a little cheer — at least until my wife gets home and turns them off because “it’s not time yet, the neighbors will think we’re weird.”

We’ve lived in our house for 17 years; I’m pretty sure the neighbors have made up their minds about us by now.

Besides, weirdness is relative, by which I mean that growing up, I’m pretty sure my family was the weird one on the block. We had the crazy, blinking, multi-colored lights in the yard, and for some reason, always put red bulbs in the electric candles in the windows, while the rest of the neighborhood tended toward plain, non-flashing clear lights. (I will note that my mother insisted on plain white lights for the tree.)

But I say, “Fiat Lux” — which means, “Let there be light.” I know that because it was my college’s motto. I’m not sure I appreciated it at the time (I think my motto in college was “fiat beer”), but it is, I think, a motto that works on many levels. You can find the phrase in Genesis, and we’re quickly approaching the season in which many cultures and traditions seek and celebrate a light in the darkness. My daughter is working with metaphors in her high school language arts class, and there’s some good ones to be found there.

So, this afternoon, even though Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, I will be digging the totes of Christmas lights out of the garage. The light-up flamingos will take their usual place in front of the house, as will the Santa hat-wearing Star Wars characters — there’s another reference to light and dark.

With today’s switch back to Alaska Standard Time (did everyone remember to move their clocks back an hour last night?), it will be getting dark a little earlier tonight.

Our Christmas lights are plugged in to a light-activated timer, and when it gets dark enough, the lights will come on, brightening the night.

At least until my wife notices and makes me turn them off again until Thanksgiving.

Reach Clarion editor Will Morrow at will.morrow@peninsulaclarion.com.

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