Last Friday was a sad day on Happy Lane. (That’s where we live in the parsonage.) January was breathing down on February, so it was finally time to take down my Christmas tree and decorations. It’s an unhappy day that says, “the party’s over.”

My beloved is a peach and lets me keep it all up however long I want, but even I knew it was time. I unwrapped all the pictures on the wall; down came the nativities and stockings. I took all the ornaments off the tree and unstrung the lights.

Each year, I gingerly tuck everything into tubs and put it back in the attic, and I do mean “gingerly.” We have ornaments that date all the way back to 1980 — our first Christmas. There are baby booties and mobile parts from when our cherubs were little, plus many other treasures from the past. We add a new one every year — for 2019, it was a paw print of our grand-dog, Winnie. My plan is for it all to last for-EVER.

Though I gingerly pack everything up, it’s shocking that every single year our Christmas lights don’t make it. I plug in a strand, wiggle a bulb here and there, but none of them work. We have to buy new lights EVERY CHRISTMAS! I’ve pondered this conundrum all season long as I admired our eight brand new sets of LED old-fashioned C7s adorning the tree.

To explain the phenomenon, I’ve wanted to say that things just aren’t made as well as they used to be, but now I think I have it figured out.

I love, love, LOVE our Christmas tree! I turned it on every morning and then off again before work. It was turned on briefly when I went home for lunch and on again right after work until bedtime. On the weekends, it shined brightly all day. Everyone could see the bright lights through the windows. It was a warm reminder of the season, especially on foggy mornings and dark nights.

After a little figuring, I’m thinking those brand new LED C7 lights burned around 730 hours this Christmas season. NO WONDER MY LIGHTS ONLY LAST ONE YEAR! They’re just worn out!

Through this pondering, I’ve realized that we are also like Christmas tree lights. We only have so many hours in our days and days in our years. We need to make them count! Before we know it, our season will have passed!

Shining a light is our job, too! In Matthew 5:14 & 16, Jesus commissioned the disciples (and us!) to be a bright light: “You are the light of the world…,” He said, and “…let your light shine before others”. No LEDs here; He was talkin’ full, bright, darkness-shattering light!

No matter the season, no matter how old we are, Jesus can use us to make a difference in the world. And we will always shine brighter when we are plugged in to Him!

Dawn Reed writes a weekly column for HD Media. She can be contacted at preacherswife7@yahoo.com.