This is a moment in the year we are glad we’re not in Florida, staring at people our age playing shuffleboard, or on a tropical island gazing at old palm trees, or at lizards scaling a garden wall (certain politicians in “debate”). The siren tropics are fine enough but Lindsborg and the Smoky Valley at Christmastime breathe a kind of radiance we care not to miss – the sidewalks are busy, storefronts aglow and tempting, merchants buoyant and ready with seasonal cheer. Dusk is full of color and bold promises even as the day ends. When the light fades, the trees begin to twinkle along the walks, windows are vibrant; the scene, energetic and brisk, offers a renewed endowment of cheer as the shadows kick in beneath the street lamps.
Promise is everywhere. Neighborhoods hold the trappings of good will, houses trimmed in color and light, the lawns a stage for every story to be told, with special attention after nightfall, when all the problems of the world give way to the sleigh en route, the snowman moored and puffed up, the reindeer dancing, candy canes and trees alight and beyond them the glow of windows; above and down the streets, through the trees, strings of lights give life to eves and roof lines. From above, a winter moon comes in a low arc through the heavens’ stars.
What was that sentence about the star? we ask no one in particular.
“And lo, the star,” we answer everyone, “which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.”
And we leave the conversation transfigured, in excellent spirits, going off merry as a fresh elf, realizing that
Christmas is where the heart is. For some, it’s that star, for some the night sparkle in the tree rows downtown, or the flash of ornaments, or in the eyes of a young child, or the great open church door.
For many, Christmas is a relative pronoun. Whatever, wherever; it’s quite a thing.
– JOHN MARSHALL