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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day 10: Lighting the Way










I took my dog for an evening walk around our neighborhood this evening. As I wandered through the beautiful, towering apartment buildings that surrounded me, I began to notice all of the lovely things that people have put in their windows...signs of the season. It's very common for people in Sweden to put "light trees" (ljusstakar) in every window. Today's photo is one of these typical light trees that adorn our apartment windows. (Yes, that's plastic behind our window. Plastic that has been there for 18 months due to a facade renovation. It's soon over. We can't wait.)
It's fun to see all of the shapes and sizes of ljustakar that people use to light up the neighborhood. In addition to the numerous forms of lighting, balconies were adorned with garland, wreaths hung on doors and windows, and Christmas trees were displayed in all their glory through large picture windows. It's actually soothing to wander around in the evening now as there is so much to look at.

It's dark in Sweden now. It's dusky the entire day, not really light until 8.30 in the morning and dark by 3.15. The twinkling lights of Christmas are not only beautiful, they also provide necessary relief from the darkness that surrounds us. The soft hue of candle light, the twinkling lights of the Christmas trees and the constantly burning "ljustakar" in the windows all help to illuminate our homes, offices and neighborhoods.
We have almost 3 more weeks of plunging into darkness before we reach the winter solstice on December 21. The long Swedish winter needs piercing light that breaks through the hovering darkness. All of the lights are wonderful reminders of the light of the world that came to pierce the dark that hovers in our lives.