Ponderings with Doug – December 21, 2018

After all these years in Natchitoches, I am spoiled by the wonderful decorations.

Can you believe that not every town decorates for Christmas like we do?

Here’s what happens in the Gibsland metroplex. The Christmas decorations are attached to the light poles. One decoration per light pole. The decorations are snowflakes, Santa, angels, snowmen, boxes with bows and ribbons, candy canes, candles, and bells. The decorations are on both sides of Main street in Gibsland proper.

Last year on MY pole, the municipal Christmas decorations hanger attached a snow flake. The snow flake had blue lights. The lights are never off, day or night they are glowing brightly. My snow flake didn’t light up. Someone didn’t reset the circuit breaker on the pole plug. I was tempted to prop my ladder against the pole and fix the problem. I said tempted. I enjoyed looking at the snow flake, imagining what it would be like if the blue lights worked. The disappointment of last Christmas was tempered by the hope of the Christmas decorations this year.

This year, the decoration dude placed all the decorations by their respective poles and then went back and hung them on the pole.
This year I have a candy cane. The candy cane has red and white lights.
The candy cane is not hanging but propped against the bottom of the pole. The candy cane municipal Christmas decoration has been propped against the bottom of the pole for two weeks now.

As I survey Main Street, I note that the decoration dude started south of town and worked his way north on Main Street. As he went, he decorated all the poles on the right side of the street. On the left side of the street, many of the decorations remain propped at the bottom of the poles. Maybe the decoration dude was an arch conservative and only decorated poles on his right. Maybe he worried that decorating poles on the left would give assent to liberalism.

Maybe the dude’s wife had a baby and he never got back to the other side of the road. Maybe his truck broke down or his knee buckled. He might have forgotten, after all, half the town’s decorations are propped against poles. Maybe this is the year of unhung decorations in Bienville Parish and I didn’t get the memo.

I hope the authorities in the Gibsland metro area don’t pay this guy for the job. He did a half way job.

I was excited about the municipal decorations at the camp this year. I had resolved to climb up and make sure the circuit breaker was in the ON position. I was planning to enjoy the decoration on my corner.

Alas, it was not to be!

Isn’t that just like some Christmas plans?

Two points to ponder and I’ll let you go. First, for some folks the light of this season simply doesn’t shine. They don’t feel the love and joy of Christmas. Their hearts are broken, and the memory of loss or brokenness is too close. We can surround those folks with love and care. Remember, don’t practice theology without a license, be a quiet caring friend. You don’t have to give answers or explain the ways of God or of life. You can be a silent presence and that is adequate.

Second, I think the broken Christmases are the ones we remember. I already remember my two Christmases as a camp owner. The city decorations didn’t work on my light pole or never got hung. We remember easily, the time when the gift wasn’t right, the batteries weren’t included, or the plans went astray. We remember the times when things were not Norman Rockwell simple. We remember because of a spiritual connection to the first Christmas. The very first Christmas was all fouled up. Joseph explaining Mary’s condition, the trip to Bethlehem, the relatives that didn’t have room for a couple of cousins and the birth in the barn.

Christmas is about our brokenness and disappointments. It is about your Christmas decoration propped against the pole. It is about looking forward to a better time and a time when “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

3 thoughts on “Ponderings with Doug – December 21, 2018

  1. Always enjoy your stories about Gibsland since I grew up there in the 50’s-60s only two houses from yours. I have wonderful memories of growing up in a safe, small town. But we didn’t have any street Christmas decorations back then so just leaning the candy cane against the pole might be consider some kind of progress-laugh!! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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