Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dim lights

Got LED lights on your house or tree? I started out my KMUW commentary last week whining about how dim the dang things are and it morphed, as often seems to happen, into something else. Listen here or just read on:

This Christmas season we found that some of our big, bright C9 multicolored light strings weren’t working so well. So, I decided to try to be a little greener this year and bought some strings of the new low-voltage LED lights. I climbed up on the roof, attached them and plugged them in. Then, I had to check the connection to see why they weren’t lit up, and I realized that they were, indeed, lit up. (I’m making little quotation marks with my fingers when I use the term, “lit.”) They are about 1/5 of the brightness level of the old incandescent lights.

My problem is that I believe in big ol’ sloppy. gaudy Christmases, and these new lights just don’t cut it. The big plastic early-1960s Santa and Frosty Snowman that stand on our porch, and the color-wheel-lit aluminum tree in our window embody the spirit of a more jubilant time, I guess. They contrast with our sad, dim LED roof lights. The grins on Santa and Frosty’s faces are beginning to look a tad ironic.

My daughter reminds me that we are doing something better for the environment with our weak LED lights, and I try to find some solace in that. Perhaps, I reason, the new, faintly glowing decorations are a metaphor for the weak economic times that are the backdrop to this holiday season.

This Christmas does seem a bit muted in its exuberance at our home. We have several friends that are dealing with serious health issues or the recent loss of loved ones. Are my dim Christmas lights there to remind me to look less at the outer and more at the inner meaning of this season? Perhaps I should seek more of the comfort and a little less of the joy this year. Maybe you know someone who needs comforting as well. Holidays are hard for those grieving or dealing with the uncertainty of serious illness.

Maybe the light we need to share doesn’t come in strings across a roofline. Maybe it comes from a star.

1 comment:

Bluebird said...

It seems that we are taking the pleasure and color out of so many things these days. In a way it is a little like the old "the lights are going out all over Europe..." speech from WWII. The problem is that these days we are the extremists.