The night was clear and cold as the caravan of cars edged closer to catch the sight – one that brought visitors from miles around. For many it was the perfect ending to Christmas day.
“You have to see this one home tonight,” youngest daughter Tiffany enthused as we put the Christmas dinner dishes away. “It’s absolutely amazing!”
“The House” – with a reputation that preceded it – was an amazing feat of synchronized lighting and decoration, one we didn’t want to miss that Christmas of 2007. So, through the snowy streets of Spokane neighborhoods the family drove in search of the phenomenal display.
What greeted us at our destination was a traffic jam as car after car waited for a peek – and a quick click – to capture the spirit of Christmas.
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“We’re almost there, so get your cameras ready!” Tiffany called from the front seat of the van, knowing our patience was about to be rewarded.
As the spectacle came into view, our breaths caught at the sight. There were dancing elves and snowmen, lighted trees that flashed red, green and white, electrified carolers singing Jingle Bells beside a glowing candy cane lane, one that meandered through the display.
From the rooftop to the edge of the lawn, from the corners of the house to the windows, sparkle greeted the eye.
“Luke, look at the pretty house!” I said from the back of the van to my almost 4-year-old grandson seated ahead of me. “Isn’t it wonderful?”
What he said next had us all staring – and startled.
“Wow! They have a basketball hoop!” his little voice exclaimed.
Our eyes searched. Had the owners decorated their basketball hoop, too? But no, it wasn’t over the garage where a person would expect it to be.
And then one of us saw it. There, lying on its side and unlit upon the front porch was a weathered basketball rim and backboard. Amazingly, in the midst of an extravaganza the unremarkable item was what the child saw as special.
I can’t help but wonder if when God chose a very nondescript setting for his exceptional gift to the world, he had his reasons. Nowadays, the quiet of the humble manger scene is in sharp contrast to the glitziness that surrounds this season of celebration.
Perhaps, what it will take for us to notice the Prince of Peace is a child’s heart.
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