Christmas lights“Lets go! – You’re helping!” I said in a friendly yet stern voice to my youngest. “I am!” she answered in what seemed like a sincere voice. Everyone kind of dreads decorating the big Christmas tree, including me. Once it’s complete we all appreciate it. Kind of like most disciplines in life… About half way through the tree decorating the little one went missing.

“Hey – Burn!” (nickname), “Where are you?” I yelled from the living room. “I’m putting up lights in here!” Came the response. “Alright!” I answered back, feeling a little over zealous. Sure enough, come night-time and the lights were turned on, she had some lights spread around the house.

A few days later she came into our room in the middle of the night. I could hear her mumbling and my wife answering in whispers. A middle of the dark bedside meeting usually means one thing; the kid at the side of the bed is sick. Later that morning as I was leaving in the still dark hours, I saw a faint glow washing the hallway floor and walls through the open door of her bedroom.

I know from experience that teenagers NEVER leave their doors open unless they’re sick or grounded… I paused in the hallway, coffee mug in hand, and studied my sick girl. She’s taller than her mom now, but she still looked like the baby from not so long ago when I’d study her, sometimes before I’d leave for work or at night before I’d go to bed.

She’s always slept on her side, chin to her chest, her light brown hair tracing her face.  I thought about some of the night lights all the girls had when they were little, they weren’t for them, they were for us. I remember leaving lights on in the laundry room and sometimes the pantry in case one of them needed to get to us in the middle of the night.

My eyes were filled with melancholy as I gazed slowly at the source of light illuminating her face and bedroom. I smiled realizing where she’d been the few days before when I’d been yelling from the living room to ensure her participation in the family Christmas decorating tradition.

She’s the last one left at home… That’s always kind of on my mind… They were all there to help decorate the tree… and the little one personalized her room with red Christmas lights… Those lights were giving me the opportunity I might not get too many more of…

Of all the lights that we’ve used to be able to lead the kids to safety or just for beauty and decoration, she knows the most important light is the light of God that lives within her and will guide, lead, and protect her… all the days of her life…

I said a quick prayer for my daughter in my mind then whispered to her, though she was sound asleep, “Hope you feel better, love you, babe… Nice job with the lights.”

I love the Christmas season…