What I learned from Christmas trees and open windows

I love Christmas lights. Truly, I adore them. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered that around Christmas time, people in my apartments started decorating their little balconies and porches with Christmas lights. It’s like everyone was given their own plot of concrete and railings to make whatever they wanted.

One night I was out taking my precious puppy Ellie for a walk. I was taking in all the scattered balconies that were glittering, when I suddenly noticed that several apartments had windows open, too. That was when I noticed people were showing off more than just sparkle on their railings; they were showing off the shimmering Christmas trees and decorations inside also.

It hit me: in any other month, every single one of these windows would have been closed. But during this special time, people were opening their windows and letting total strangers catch glimpses of the inside of their worlds–simply because they had something beautiful to display. A Christmas tree. And they wanted everyone to see it, maybe to show off, or maybe just to share joy. And on that night, all the beautiful trees with lights and glimpses into people’s homes left me smiling.

It also made me wonder: many of us have something more beautiful than a Christmas tree inside our lives. We have a bright, sparkling, joy-bringing, smile-giving beauty inside us. But most of the time the windows on our lives are kept closed, too. Maybe we’re embarassed that our lives might not be clean or neat enough; maybe we want the privacy. But the fact is, when we keep our lives closed, there are people who are missing out on something we have to offer. And, unlike the Christmas tree, it’s something we can offer all year round.

What if we started realizing what we could give to the world? What if, like the people in my apartments, we opened up the windows to let people see in, simply because there’s something beautiful there? We have personal gifts, talents, and characteristics that can bless other people’s lives. And many of us have the Light of the World to shine out, the Light that so many are desperate for.

Christmas may be over, but maybe we need to keep our windows open, to offer beauty and the truest Light to those who may pass by.

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