The Lights, the Memories, the Gift

by Kirsten Radke

It’s four o’clock, dark outside, I’m hustling around the house getting mittens, hats, coats, and extra layers together as my three children sit watching out the kitchen window, eagerly waiting for their dad to get home from work. Headlights pull in the driveway, children run out the door, boots on and coats in hand not even giving my husband a chance to change out of his work attire before they pile in the car yelling in excited voices, “Dad, let’s go!”

As I load the car and get kids buckled, my husband comes out, coffee in hand, ready to go. The 45 minute drive to The Lights of Christmas Festival is filled with conversations about donuts, pony rides, trains, hot chocolate, and Christmas lights! By the time we arrive our kids have planned our entire evening.

The Lights of Christmas is by far one of our favorite family outings every December. The kids’ eyes light up as the experience of Christmas comes to life. My husband and I love watching their faces and excitement. For me, being able to spend time together as a family and slow down during a busy season to experience the love of Christ is what Christmas is all about.

After several hours filled with candy canes from Santa, Elfland toy shop, Polar Express train rides, pony rides, light maze, the petting farm, fresh hot donuts and hot chocolate, we walk to the life-size Nativity scene in the center of it all and stand there in silence. As my children look at baby Jesus, my oldest, who is learning to read asks, “What do those words say?” as he looks at the Christmas story displayed next to the baby Jesus.

As we read the Christmas story together, I am reminded of God’s goodness, His blessings in my life and His promise. There is a simplicity in Christmas that can often be overlooked with the busyness of the season. We run around checking things off our list and creating new lists, often to the point where we lose sight of the reason for the season. The Lights of Christmas creates a place where family comes first, quality time and experiences will forever be remembered through the memories that are created, and we can reflect on the wonderful gift God gave us in His Son.

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