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Audibles Episode 13 “Christmas Lights”

christmas lights

A few years ago, our homeowners association was having a Christmas contest for the best decorated house in our neighborhood. I drove in my cul de sac and notice that 3 of my neighbors had decked out their houses and yards with beautiful lights and decor…and for a brief moment, something inside me whispered… You could do better than that, you could win the contest if you wanted to…

Then reality set in as I reminisced about years gone by when I actually tried to decorate our house. I’m the TIm Taylor/Chevy Chase character in your favorite Christmas movie… me and lights… let’s just say…one particular year, the lights won. We had been married a few years when I got the hair-brained idea that I was going to decorate the house. We purchased strand after strand of lights and I gathered the ladder, some nails, some extension cords, and my wife and we set out to wrap the house with lights… and to wrap the trees, and shrubs, and everything else it seemed….

I thought it would work…We were going to be the envy of the neighborhood… I had carefully planned the light strand routing as we only had 2 outlets at the front exterior of the house. I was pleased to see that the light strands could be daisy chained end to end and I set out to string 6-7 strands from each of the outlets…. everything worked perfectly… the 14 or so strands that we ran in the front yard covered the front eve of the house and all of the shrubs at the front of the house…

It was around dusk and so Stephanie and I decided to plug the lights in and see just how beautiful the lights would look. The lights all came on and I was beginning to form a mental picture of just how popular our house would be… Families would get in their cars and drive to our street just to see the lights, tears would be shed, pictures would be taken, a moment would be had, and we would have saved someone’s family Christmas…

The lights stayed on for 3-4 minutes and then… mysteriously, they all went out at the same time. I was confused… I thought maybe Stephanie had unplugged our masterpiece… I checked with her…and she hadn’t turned anything off. So I began to think, maybe one of the light strands was bad… and because all of the lights had gone off that were daisy chained together… being the Einstein that I am, I deducted that the first strand was bad…

I had a few extra light strands we had not used, so I quickly replaced the first strand and amazingly the light show was back on… for 3-4 minutes, and then it happened again…. I thought to myself, Wal-Mart must have gotten a bad shipment from China. So, I replaced the first strand again… and to the joy and admiration of all who were there, there was light… just call me the tool man…..

3-4 minutes later, my deepest fears were realized… the lights went out… By then, Stephanie was laughing at the whole debacle. After she regained her composure, she took it on herself to read the box the lights came in… and sure enough… There was a phrase in English, Spanish, and Chinese that clearly stated that the lights would not work if more than 3 strands were connected from a single source. I had connected 7 to the same source… I had killed numerous strands of lights by blowing their internal fuse.

Such is our life… we are limited by our own humanity when it comes to so many areas of our life… We spin so many plates, we praise those who are master multi-taskers, we try to become even more efficient so we can do more… and often, we blow the fuse to our life… I see this especially in our relationships… and in our families… so many daisy chained schedules and activities that we short-circuit the life we really hoped for.

I challenge you in this holiday season to prioritize the strands of your life and to limit the daisy chain effect… Go deeper with your family and make room for God to speak to you in your everyday moments…

If you make room for God and the real priorities in your life, your life will shine brighter and be much more of an attraction to your neighbors than any light show at your house.

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas…

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