December 23rd, 2010
My son John and I did something we’ve talked about for a decade. If you’re waiting for the story of how we climbed Mt. Everest, or back packed Europe for a month, or something grandiose like that, you can stop waiting. We got in our PJ’s, made hot chocolate and tea, grabbed some Christmas cookies, and jumped into the car to drive all over Chicago’s western suburbs looking at Christmas lights. We’ve talked about it every year for at least a decade, and this was possibly our last chance. At least our last chance before John heads off to college and life is never quite the same.
John is 18 years old now, a senior in high school, with a strong bent toward nostalgia. He loves looking back to fond childhood memories, of course he doesn’t have far to look back. Out trip to view the Christmas lights is one of those memories he’ll look back on with delight. We got into the car, plugged in my iPod and played Vince Guaraldi Christmas Music from the Charlie Brown Christmas special, then some great London Brass Christmas tunes, and we drove all over the western suburbs of Chicago, well at least Elmhurst and Oak Brook, before coming home to the less decorated suburb of Villa Park!
I told John about when I was young and how there were neighborhoods who went all out with lighting and decorating. I even drove him through a neighborhood that 15 years ago was a regular on the list of neighborhoods to drive through and view. Only one house had any significant decorations on it in that neighborhood this year. John found it very sad. Times have changed. The economy has changed, and not everyone celebrates Christmas. He found all of that quite sad. John is an old soul. It took me forever to get him to carry a cell phone, then a little longer for me to get him to turn the cell phone on. I’m the texter. John does it in a pinch. I’m lucky that he sporadically checks his email now. Facts that are sometimes annoying, but mostly I thank God for this sensitive young man who loves God with his whole heart and wants to serve him.
I’m thankful to add Christmas light viewing to my list of memories with John. John is already looking back on the memory with nostalgia.