I made a quick drive around our small town, Laurel, tonight. It was dismaying.
With a number of exceptions, the houses and yards of Laurel seem kind of depressed. It's as if they're bumming around in sweats and those fake Uggs you get at the Walmart, hair washed and then just tucked under an earflap hat.
Of course it's been a hard year. There are quite a few empty houses (including our old one), and last year's snows knocked down some of the majestic trees that are like Christmas light landmarks. And of course everyone's trying to save money wherever they can (including us) and maybe an inflatable Santa and a full load of C6 bulbs don't seem that important when you're underemployed or worried about the next round of RIFs.
But come on! It's 2 weeks to Christmas, for Christ's sake! It won't kill you to slap up that old wreath. It's in the garage. You pass it every day.
I'm pretty sure it'll make you feel better. A little.
So that's why, at 11pm, in 22 degrees and wind whipping flurries through the air, I was standing on a chair on our patio, overextending to outline our little porch with lights. "I know I can't get you to stop," says Eric, "but at least put on a coat." (I am bad at estimating how long things will take. My default estimate for any project is 'like, a second.' So I am forever running outside barefoot or bareheaded when brighter people would protect themselves.)
Anyway, we now light up the frigid night, in honor of the Incarnation. We need a little Christmas - apparently, nearly everyone does. Happy to help.