By Ashley Lodato
A couple of weeks ago one of my neighbors asked my daughter when we were planning to get our Christmas tree. Apparently this neighbor can see the lights of our tree in our living room from her bedroom window, and it gives her a little spark of happiness just before bed. When I heard this, I too got happy; my Christmas tree lights make someone else smile at the end of each day.
I thought about this on Saturday night as we set up our tree and hung up the lights and decorations. I thought about how every time our Christmas tree lights are plugged in, they’re beaming light out the window toward my neighbor. I thought about how we all do these little things all the time, like putting lights on Christmas trees — things that we do for our own sake, or for our children’s sake, or things we often do out of habit rather than any real intention — and how we sometimes don’t realize what effect they have on others.
I thought about how we all carry within us this inner light, and how we can choose to let it shine brightly and bring a brief glow to someone else, or we can keep it inside, perhaps warming our own hearts but not radiating out to others. And how if we just take a moment to open our curtains and let our light shine out, we offer this luminosity to everyone around us. It’s no extra effort, no extra wattage, no depletion of our own reserves; we just let others in on that spark of light inside.
It’s these fleeting little unexpected moments of being a light for someone else that for me capture the spirit of Christmas. What better gift to give another person than your hope, your patience, your understanding, your joy, your empathy? Once you’ve been on the receiving end of that private radiance of another, you realize that a little light goes a long way. The whole world around becomes brighter.
Especially at this time of year, with the return of the sun and the lengthening of days, let us all offer our own inner light from a place of abundance, and let it shine out.