The Lights of Christmas: Taking Time to Breathe
By Keith Yarter, The Lights of Christmas Director
Christmastime for some reason seems to make year-end accelerate into the “race” gear that takes our breath away. Our November and December calendars are filled with shopping, parties, school plays, musicals shows and a myriad of other social and family functions. You had better not forget that special present for Aunt Mable.
For me, Christmastime is never very far away from my thoughts, even in the middle of summer!
So, how does The Light of Christmas help one take a breath and breathe a little slower, you might ask? Isn’t another event to cram into the already fast-paced December schedule, with its accompanying obligations, the last thing I need?
I thought so some ten years ago. Our family was at a critical point of taking time out for each other and we couldn’t catch our breath. Our calendars were so filled with work and the preparations for Christmas morning that we almost became blue in the face holding our breath.
Then we heard about an event called The Light of Christmas at Warm Beach Camp – a small event tucked in the southeast part of Stanwood. Our transforming adventure began driving down Marine Drive where we were met with traffic and Christmas lights showing us the entrance. Ushered deeper into the camp, a nice man, one of the parking attendants, proceeded to point the way, and I followed his instructions the best I could to find the area in the dark where I could park.
Still not ready to release my breath yet, we stumbled up to the front to purchase our tickets and meet the rest of the family. Then, all of sudden, I became mesmerized by all the lights in the trees and on the buildings. I wasn’t even in the event yet, but already I began to wander off like a child to see the rest of the lights.
That was when I found myself reconnecting with a sense of rest, and, yes, I was enjoying the season again!
We walked about Joyland, were enthralled by the decorations in Cedar Lodge, and encountered the quick wit of Bruce the Spruce, the talking Christmas tree.
Right about that time, the rush of the world came to a stop under a canopy of lights. The message of the reason for the season deepened into my heart, and then all of sudden … I exhaled – a sigh long overdue.
Now as director of The Lights, I am privileged to watch guests come in from the rush of the season, the traffic, the shopping. I can see the exhaustion that shows on their faces and the slump of their shoulders as they approach the ticket booths to enter The Lights.
Then, I’ve seen those same families as they exit the event, heading for their cars. I see smiles, parents enjoying their children, spouses holding hands, and I’ve heard them even expressing appreciation to Warm Beach for putting on the event. You truly can see a transformation!
This year, The Lights of Christmas opens on Thursday, December 4. It features “a million lights and more,” but greater, it is a place to take a breath, relax, and bring sense to the annual celebration we call Christmas. After all, that is what God wants for us.