Our accountant’s husband, J, is a huge Christmas lights fan. When they lived in our neighborhood, the rooftop Santa and reindeer were on their garage by Thanksgiving, along with an enormous collection of other sparkling, flashing, and inflatable decorations. E, J, and their great kids were the heart of their street, and we were sorry when they moved to a nearby neighborhood. However, we understood: the larger lot gave J more room for Christmas. When we drove by over the next holidays, we spotted their house two blocks away.
Spreading holiday cheer for more to hear
However, E and J’s hearts are, in a turnaround from the Grinch, two sizes too big, and the family’s passion for Christmas has grown way beyond their home. J is now the architect of a one-mile, drive-through holiday lights display in nearby Okeeheelee Park that runs weekends through January 2. As AP reporter David Sharp said in his recent article about the tradition of light shows, ”You can feel the difference when there is a lot of love behind the project.” Lights 4 Hope, the non-profit the family helped establish four years ago, uses the funds generated by the $15/car entrance fee to spread happiness and joy year-round to families coping with their child’s critical illness or life-changing physical changes.
Wonder if Lights 4 Hope has made a difference? These children’s delight says it all. Lots more of these uplifting photos and stories on Instagram.
You can be part of this joyful mission
To learn more about Lights 4 Hope, including how to get tickets for this year’s display or to become a sponsor or supporter, click on their website here. You can also follow Lights 4 Hope on Facebook or on Instagram. ’Tis the season, after all!
Pandemic or not, this drive-through format is a perfect way to end 2021 in a safe and inspiring way.
Yes, we were all in that dark nowhere for months, feeling terrified and lost and hopeless and unseeing.
I thought I’d never get sprung.
My friend Deb
The vaccine lights the way
And, then, the unimaginable happened. A light beamed from not too far away, revealing a short tunnel through which we only had to step to be delivered from the Coronavirus killing machine. Yes, it seemed like an eternal wait, complicated by lottery scrambling for access, but then I entered a grocery store for the first time in eleven months. Inhaling the heady scent of fresh bread, I got a needle in my arm and the world changed.
Gratitude washes over us
United States is the first country to administer 150 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, on track to meet the president’s goal of administering 200 million shots in his first 100 days in office. USA Today reporter Jordan Mendoza writes about Americans getting emotional when being vaccinated.
As soon as I got into the line, I saw an elderly person in a wheelchair getting their vaccine, and I think it was just like a really full-circle moment for me.
Everyone benefits if you’re a little bit more compassionate and open to being more flexible and more understanding of different challenges and needs. The pandemic is not the only time we should be thinking about these things.