Keeping Christ in Christmas lights

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Blinking lights, inflatable snowmen and helicopter Santas on front lawns are all well and good, but nothing says Christmas better than displaying the humble, holy family. Nativity scenes big or small serve as heartfelt reminders of what Christmas is all about. They can be great conversation-starters for onlookers in passing cars.

 

Parents can use traditional Christmas light hunting trips to teach young children the true story of Christmas. More than a few area houses have exciting mixes of lights that also include the crèche, ranging from playful and animated to elegant and solemn.

 

In Kings Park off Braddock Road in West Springfield, one house has an inflatable Nativity while another has the popular plastic lighted set complete with the Wise Men. 

 

Carol Denny, a parishioner of Holy Spirit Church in Annandale, displays a white wooden crèche made by the Knights of Columbus at Church of the Nativity in Burke. It is one of the first things she puts up.

 

“They are a very compelling and simple statement about what this season is really all about,” said Bob Colella, one of the Knights in charge of making the wooden cut outs. According to Colella, building the Nativity scenes is a good way for the men to center their minds on Advent as they work.

 

“It’s a constant reminder as you work of the reason for it being a season of Advent and not just Christmas Day,” said Colella.

 

Their $50 Nativity scenes have grown in popularity over the years. This year they filled 40 orders, which was nine more than last year. Many of their customers add a special Christmas message to the scene at no additional charge. They vary from to “Joy” to “Oh come let us adore him,” one of the longest messages that can fit, according to Colella.

 

Denny had “Silent Night, Holy Night,” her favorite Christmas carol, added to her display.

 

“You can hear and feel the mother’s love for her child through the whole song,” said Denny, who pairs her Nativity scene with a lighted star, an angel and three presents representing the Wise Men’s gifts.

 

“People have gotten away from the meaning of Christmas,” said Denny. “We really need this.” She is happy to see that so many of her neighbors have added the holy family to their displays, and she hopes it will encourage others to remember Jesus this holiday season.

 

There are many places to find the reason for the season both inside and outside the Beltway, starting with the crèche outside your local church.  Load up the car, pack some snacks and set out to find the light of the world in a neighborhood near you.

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016