One hundred and forty-three years after Thomas Edison and Edward Johnson, another inventor, introduced the world to electric lights on buildings, and strings of lights on Christmas trees, I decided to again illuminate our grape arbor and pergola.

Our colored Christmas tree lights, and electric candles in our windows, their warm, golden glow the Irish once used to indicate their household kept the Christian faith, weren’t enough to lift my spirit this season. I needed light in the darkness of night that surrounds our home, country and world.

I desired a small portion of something stunning and beautiful as downtown Rochester’s Big Bright Light Show. And creative and amusing as the farmer further north on Rochester Road who decorated his tractor collection with colored lights.

Both dazzle my eyes, cheer my soul and humor my spirit.

So I drove to ACE Hardware and bought enough white lights to adorn my grape arbor, the entrance to our backyard. After all, I’d finally pruned the vines this past fall and removed the cords of expired Christmas lights I’d hung years ago. The arbor’s bare ribs begged to glow again.

So I wove the strands of white bulbs up, over, and down the arbor, and plugged in the prongs.


Downhill, the pergola called my name for the same TLC. So I wove strands of white lights up, over and down the pergola’s entrance, all my ambition and budget allowed for adorning the twenty-four-foot tunnel.

For the little redbud tree by the greenhouse had also whispered in my ear, and I bought a box of red, blue, and green lights while I shopped at ACE. The redbud had grown graceful branches as I pruned her each spring, and deserved her own light show.

So I wound a cord of blue, red, and green tiny bulbs around her lower and middle branches, high as I could reach with my trusty step stool. I then set a timer from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and connected it to an extension cord connected to the lights.

I held my breath and plugged in the timer.

Another Voila!

The darker the night grew, the brighter the colored lights sparkled on the redbud, like bubbles in a champagne glass.

I said good-night and walked up the hill to warm up with a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

Dear Reader, when night falls, I find myself gazing upon my grape arbor, pergola, and the little redbud tree, thankful for my place and time on this planet. Although mankind continues to wage war with one another, lie, cheat, steal and kill, we are nonetheless blessed with luminaries to guide our way to truth and peace.

For this I know: we are never alone. The star of Bethlehem, be it an alignment of planets or another cosmological phenomenon, hovered over the birthplace of our Savior two thousand years ago. He lives within my heart today, as He has since my childhood, many Christmases ago.

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