I've long been a proponent of putting lights outside the house for Christmas. This year is no exception. I saved a little time by leaving the light holders on from last year - made it a lot easier and quicker to put them up. I did notice that some of the light holders are showing signs of aging. They would break off when I tried to put them over the gutter railing. I suppose that only makes sense because I know some of those are over ten years old - pushing fifteen. So I did the wise thing and purchased a couple of boxes of universal light holders for next year. I'll be ready!
The passion for lights on Christmas goes way back to my youth. On Christmas Eve my family would always go to the late service - not sure when it was held, but I'm thinking 10:30 p.m. or 11;00 p.m.. After the final chorus of Silent Night echoed through our minds, we would take the long way home and Mom (who was usually driving because Dad had stayed home with the smaller kids) would find the houses that lit up the sky on Christmas Eve. Of course, back then you really only had one choice for lights and that was the larger ornament bulb. No such thing as mini lights or LCD's or lighted deer or even lit lamp posts (like the two we have now). Once in a while you'd see a manger scene that was lit with a spotlight - those were cool.
When I put lights out now, I look at them coming home from the office or choir practice or some event and I am reminded of my family's Christmas Eve. It's just a nice thing to remember.
I'm certain you may have traditions you carry on today. Traditions are important because they help keep us grounded. They remind us how we got to where we are. They help us connect with people who invested time and equity into our lives. They help us remember what we learned, during this time of year, about Christmas, about Jesus, about family, about church, and about what was lasting.
Hold on to your traditions, my friends. If you don't have any, then get with it and start some. You'll not regret it and neither will those around you. Whether it's lighting up the sky or a certain routine or a favorite meal, it's bound to have lasting memories that help you connect with all that was good about growing up (and still can be today).