Thursday, December 10, 2009


Coming home to the States, I enjoyed a long approach into Chicago airport.  It was like landing in a sea of light.  And because of the time of year, in addition to the normal cityscape, I got to enjoy a sky-high view of all the neighborhood Christmas lights.  It was lovely.

As I heard in a recent sermon, we light our houses to remind ourselves of the arrival of the light of the world.  So my brain started wandering.  A light-up reminder.  Where have I heard that before?


In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, forgetful Neville receives a remembrall from his Grandmother.  It lights red when he’s forgotten something.  But in the words of poor Neville:  “The only thing is, I can’t remember what it is I’ve forgotten.” 

From Christmas trees, to the tip of Rudolph’s nose, this time of year our everyday lives are swarming with remembralls. 

But it’s one thing to see the light, and a whole separate thing to live out the truth behind it.

Living full of light.  Letting my light shine.  Remembering what the light is that fills my spirit with peace, joy, and purpose.  That’s what all the lights of the season should help me remember.

You know, in a way I think Santa is a kind of remembrall too.  (Not just because he wears a red suit either.)  The idea of Santa Clause originated with St. Nick, right?  St. Nick wasn’t about getting.  He wasn’t even about being generous to our families.  He was about giving to the less fortunate, especially to children. 

I think this is one area where our culture does a decent job of remembering.  It seems like every where I turn, I’m presented with a different opportunity to adopt a child or provide a meal or send a care package or…(In fact, sometimes I feel like I am bombarded with so many messages encouraging me to “remember the real meaning of Christmas,” that I want to throw up my hands and say, I GET IT ALREADY!  Yeesh! )

Frustration aside… it’s encouraging to see that for as many opportunities there are to be greedy, there are just as many opportunities to be generous.

If we remember.  More importantly, if we remember why.

“If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”  (1 Cor 13:3)

Love.  Love is light behind Christmas.  It’s why God sent his son.  It’s why the sky went from pitch black to blazing with an angel choir. It’s what inspired an ordinary man to be anonymously generous and inspire a red-suited legacy.  It’s the bond that holds friends and families together.  It’s the tug in our heart that compels us to empathize with those who don’t have what we do, and to reach across that chasm to give of the abundance in our own lives.

Love.  And the love-filled life that changed everything. 

Let every blinking light remind you.

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