Turn on the lights! Well, as we are now into December, and it is so dark and cold, I for one love to see the seasonal lights appearing. The big bright lights which transform the city centre, ripple through the shopping centres, rise from the tower in RTE, land at the airport and are all over public building are one thing, the special lit walks in some parks another, but the lights I love are those which appear inside and outside the homes in the community.
Trees festooned with lights, facades of houses radiating joy, and from windows, gutters, chimneys, decorations capture the joy and fun of Christmas. To see Santa and his sleigh, stars and snowflakes, all shimmering in the darkness, which now comes so early, is just wonderful. White lights, blue lights, multi-colour bulbs draped through the trees, lights on strings, flashing and pulsing with colour and energy all generously installed and freely shared, from each house to the whole neighbourhood.
In the coming 10 days or so there will be a tree in the window of almost every home, its twinkling brightness telling the story of every family making ready for Christmas Eve. Parcels will soon arrive as visitors share their gifts and sibling and parents wrap up the presents and place them there.
I guess there will be many cribs coming down from the attic, dusted off and set in place, slowly filling with the characters from the best-known story in the world, for now the little manger will lie empty. Eventually Christmas will come and another light, so simple, a candle, may appear in a window an expression of faith, of welcome for the stranger and an embrace for the child Jesus.
All these lights are telling the story of Christmas, that darkness is banished by the coming of the Lord, we will welcome the light of the world with all our heart.
These little birds are lighting up my kitchen!