Do you know that quiet moment, that happens around Christmas time? That beautiful, gentle, sweet moment? That calm, peaceful moment when all the lights in the house are off and everyone is in bed, but you're still awake? That moment when you get up and the only lights that are still on are those on the Christmas Tree or on that string of lights that you hung up as a decoration in the living room?
Although the lights are very small, they seem to emit more than their capacity in brightness and warmth. Joy isn't even physically possible from a light bulb, yet somehow they seem to beam that out too.
I have the same reaction every year: The warmth I feel is the warmth of security, where I'm part of my own loving little family. The satisfaction of having built a home where the lights can shine warmly, and where a boy doesn't have to decorate the Christmas tree all by himself because his parents are passed out.
Christmas can be bittersweet. Indeed, there were a few sad and nasty, painful Christmases, but that same kid remembers lots of good ones too. The kid remembers a real tree that smelled like pine, and the texture and weight of 40-year-old Christmas lights that probably were hung up dozens of times by his Dad's Dad, with their wrinkled cords and cracked, faded bulbs that had all but lost their tint.
The kid remembers elegant and beautiful tinted glass baubles that spoke of his Mother's family with their sense of fashion and style. Then, there were also those home-made decorations composed of egg cartons, pipe cleaners and glitter that spoke of school projects, leaner times, or of your parents back when they were kids themselves.
So, during these nights, sitting with that little string of sparkling lights glowing warmly at you in the dark, many of those old memories and feelings will creep out as you look back into your past. They're the tiny, twinkling reflections of you as you once were. They're the last remnants of the people you loved, and the magic moments from your youth, streaming back out to your adult self like million year-old light from ancient stars.