Can Christmas lights transcend all our differences?

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for bright lights and all things shiny and pretty. So, I was looking around my neighborhood the other night and all these people have put up their Christmas lights and they are beautiful! So that’s the first thing I notice is just very simply how pretty they are. While I am gawking over everyone’s Christmas lights I started thinking about the people in the houses. I have no idea who they are. No clue. What I do know is that I have seen a beautiful part of them in these decorations for this holiday. That got me thinking.

We spend so much time and energy as a culture looking first for what divides us. We automatically judge, whether conscious or sub-consciously, everyone that we see. Sometimes it’s in a positive light but a lot of times it’s not. We all know the thoughts. “What is she wearing?” “Why did he think that was a good idea?” “They aren’t dressed very well they must be worse off financially.” “Oh there is another rich, old white guy.” “She is wearing a hijab, she must be in with terrorists.” “He’s African American he must be in a gang.” These things run through our heads and I want to say we all try to correct them immediately and think something positive but I think honestly, a lot of times we don’t even realize the thoughts. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how, in our society that is so divided on so many things, how can we bridge what divides us. How can we be more open and less judgmental and realize that we all have so many of the same day to day challenges and joys. How can we share in what we have in common instead of letting all this other keep us separated?

So I’m looking at these Christmas lights and I’m thinking how beautiful they are in a world that is so often so harsh and judgmental. I realized that maybe, and this may be naive but maybe we should recognize that we don’t know who put up those Christmas lights that we are enjoying. We are looking at something and appreciating the beauty and the time and energy and thought that someone had to take to create that but we don’t know who actually did it. That person that put up those lights may be our complete opposite. They may cherish a religion that we judge harshly and don’t understand. They may be of a different race that we have been taught to be cautious of. They may be more educated or less educated than we are. They may be a member of a different political party than we are. One thing that connects us rather than divides us is the appreciation for their Christmas lights.

Don’t you think, that if we can recognize that through their Christmas lights we are seeing a beauty in them, a wonderful shining part of who they are, that maybe we can use that as a reminder that everyone has beauty and wonder and value in them? Maybe next time that you come across someone that is different than you are, instead of being judgmental or fearful of them, you will remember the lights you saw and how they could be the people that created that beauty. Even if you think the Christmas lights theory is retarded can’t we all take the lesson from it that there is beauty in us all! We may pray differently or have different political beliefs, different races and cultures but there is beauty in us all. Maybe it’s time we stopped whining about how different we are and start to appreciate the beauty. What do Christmas lights make you think of? #southernmorningcoffee

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