Contagious Joy

It all started with one. Then another appeared, and another. Followed by a few more. Before we knew it, the whole street had been overcome… by Christmas lights.

An estimated 150 million light sets are sold in America each year, lighting 80 million homes around the country over the holiday season. It’s a tradition that goes way back, but the first string lights were invented by Thomas Edison, and at the time it was a phenomenon.  A reporter described the spectacle as "a continuous twinkling of dancing colors, red, white, blue, white, red, blue — all evening. I need not tell you that the scintillating evergreen was a pretty sight — one can hardly imagine anything prettier."

Last year, we moved from a home in a rural area without neighbors nearby, to a home in the suburbs and soon realized we’d moved into a street that really gets into the Christmas spirit. Every weekend since November, our neighbors were climbing on top of their homes to string up Christmas lights. We had a newborn baby and were very unprepared so we quickly scrambled to find some lights to put up - it was late in the month but we got there!  
We are a little more ready for the festivities this year and love seeing how much fun Christmas lights bring to our street. Some houses have one or two strings of lights, and others have spent hours finding the perfect placement for their displays. People walk around the neighborhood, gathering to see the lights on each street. New installations pop up each day as neighbors add to their light collection - not wanting to miss out on the joy of Christmas.

As our neighbors put their Christmas lights up, it reminds us to get our lights up too! Joy is contagious like that. It is not stagnant nor sticks with one person. As one person feels joy, it flows out of them and impacts other people. It can change everything - the way we hold conversation, the way we engage with others, the atmosphere we bring to a room - when we are filled with a spirit of Joy.

Joy draws people in. It creates warmth and community and a willingness to connect. It brings light to the darkness and says “Come over here! You are so welcome”.

It all started with the One, the original Joy-bringer! He showed us how to do it and invites us to do the same. Cover your home in Joy this Christmas and let it flow into your neighborhood. One can hardly imagine anything prettier than that.

Accompanying song on Spotify - “A Light”
Monique Sleight
Monique is a mum of 2 and works in marketing in Sydney, AUS
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