The Beauty and Symbolism of Christmas Lights

Santa has a colourful train this year.

The lights on the Christmas decorations outside and inside homes in my neighbourhood are a lovely sight in December. In 2020, they have a special significance for me. The news about the development of multiple and apparently successful vaccines for COVID-19 is a hopeful sign for the upcoming year. There may be light at the end of the tunnel, and we may be close to it. The lights of Christmas might be especially important this year.

A light shining in the dark is always enticing. Christmas lights may be a reminder of the Light in the form of the Son of God for some people. For me, they are a sign of hope: hope for a better year ahead, for solutions to some personal problems, and for those who are suffering or in need. The hope is partially idealistic, but it’s possible to some extent. I and we have some power to make it so.

I took the photos in this article near my home. I noticed the first decorations on November 30th. They are increasing in number rapidly. The growing light and colour at night is highly appreciated in the year of the coronavirus.

A snowman and a giant candy cane

The displays of Christmas lights outside shopping centres and public buildings can be nice, but I prefer the ones created by individuals and families. I appreciate the kindness of those who place their lighted Christmas tree by a window and avoid hiding it with drapes. The lighted or inflated Santas with their cheerful smiles, the sleighs, and the reindeer are a cheerful reminder of the joy of giving to others.

I prefer multicoloured lights to white or pale yellow ones. I find a house completely decorated in pale lights depressing, though I can accept them on natural objects such as trees. I like to be reminded of the colours in life. I enjoy seeing the lights on the tree below, though. The colours of the bottom lights are lovely, and the upper ones are partially saved for me because they’re wrapped around a living entity instead of being hung from a house. The fact that the tree appears to be floating in the photo gives it a magical aspect, though in real life I could see the missing section of the trunk.

Lights wrapped around a tree that appears to be floating on air.

The inflatable and lighted snowmen seem especially magical to me. We don’t get much snow in winter here, and we don’t experience temperatures below freezing often or for a long time. A “real” snowman quickly appears when snow falls because people know that there’s a risk that the temperature will rise soon. Their attitude is the winter equivalent of the “Make hay while the sun shines” saying. The builders take advantage of the moment, which seems like good advice for other areas of life.

The snowmen decorations seem to do very well. The only sadness that I experience about them is if the inflatable ones deflate before their time and their flat and sad remains are left on view. I don’t find the deliberate deflation after Christmas as depressing because it seems like the natural order of events.

An inflatable snowman on a historic train

I took the photo above during Christmas last year. I haven’t seen an inflatable snowman yet this year, but I expect it won’t be long before I do. I know of two families that inflate quite a complex scene of characters on their lawn at Christmas. I like the multicoloured lights on the train above as well as the snowman.

The snowman is sitting on a historic steam engine that has been restored. It’s located in a specially built pavilion attached to a Vancouver community centre. The steam engine is known as Engine 374. In 1887, it pulled the first transcontinental passenger train into Vancouver. The rail line from one side of the country to the other took ten years to complete. Understandably, the arrival of the train was celebrated.

Tree lights and the moon

I saw the scene above outside my local shopping centre in November before all the leaves had dropped. The lights appear on the tree and on others in the parking lot every Christmas. They are an attractive sight, especially before the leaves have disappeared and as night falls. The golden leaves and the colour of the lights suit each other.

I was happy to see the moon and the lighted tree together as darkness approached and the moon replaced the sun in dominance. The cycle of nature continues throughout the year, as it has done and will do throughout time, as least according to our present understanding of time. The apparent constancy of undisturbed nature can be comforting, even as changes gradually occur. Some aspects of nature, such as the viruses that make us sick, are not pleasant, however. I love exploring nature, but I’m well aware that it can be harmful as well beneficial. Hopefully, the virus that is currently a major problem will soon be subdued.

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