let the lights of christmas shine!

last thursday, moses and i met up with some friends at the lighting of the christmas tree at trafalgar square. it was a beautiful, clear, chilly but not super cold night. it was crowded in the square, but not too dense back by the lions where we were standing. all the air around us was buzzing with that specific, magical type of excitement that can only be attributed to christmastime.

carols were sung (by a lovely choir and also by the crowd!) and speeches were given about the trafalgar square christmas tree. every year since 1947, a tall evergreen is cut down in the forests outside oslo, transported (all fifty or so feet) across the sea and land, and put up in the heart of london as a gift to england - a token of gratitude from the people of norway for british support during world war two.

we weren't sure when exactly the lights on the tree would be switched on - i anticipated there would be some type of countdown or loud announcement. as tiny specks in that big crowd, we waited. we could not see the person speaking into the microphone.

a melodious voice with a norwegian accent was speaking about the history of the gifted tree and took a short pause. then, the voice said - very clearly but not loudly - "let the lights of christmas shine." and BOOM the lights on the tree illuminated.

for some reason, i was so touched by this - by the lack of fanfare and pageantry, by this simple but powerful declaration and the glowing that immediately followed. i thought, as i walked home through the dark bustling night, about the light of christmas. it's jesus's light, and it's real. and it's up to me, to all of us, to let it shine.

and yes, there is great glow and warmth in the glitzy fun of christmastime - in the decorations and the gifts and the parties and the treats. but the real light comes from acts of service and love that are quiet but clear, simple and heartfelt.

have you heard about the #lighttheworld campaign?
our church has encouraged all to let the lights of christmas shine by performing simple acts of service every day in december leading up to christmas. mormon.org has provided inspiration and ideas for each day.

just browsing through the website has me goosebumpy with that real christmas joy, and ian, moses and i are following along and doing our best to contribute to lighting the world throughout the month.

i feel particularly tender about christmas this year, because i gave birth to a baby this year. thinking about mary birthing in that stable is overwhelmingly amazing and beautiful to me, in a new way now. considering god's gift of his son, packaged as a tiny and supremely humble newborn, fills my heart like never before. i really believe that whole story, and all that follows, is real. i see that reality in the light of christmas. and i hope to really let it shine. {trafalgar square image via}


  1. Beautiful thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

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