We “decked the halls” this past week. By we, I mean the staff. We spent about 2 hours here on Saturday putting up lights and decorating. We chose to go simple rather than gaudy. The last thing I/we wanted to do was detract from the real reason we were there. We chose to use lit garland on the walls and line our beams with the “icicle-type” lights. The small pictures don’t give a true picture of the warmth and “air” it gave, but the people liked it.
Lights play a big part in Christmas celebrations. They had a dubious beginning though. The practice of putting lights on the tree was actually started by Martin Luther when he attached candle-holders to the tree’s limbs and wowed his family and friends with the first brightly lit Christmas tree. The practice swept across Germany. Soon craftsmen were plying their trade to produce more ornate candle-holders. But even with the more ornate holders, fire was still a hazard. Thousands of homes burned down due to the trees catching on fire.
In 1879 Thomas Edison changed all of that with his invention of the lightbulb. Three years later, one of his employees, Edward Johnson, decided to apply this new invention to the Christmas tree. They put their tree in the parlor and in 1882 decorated it with brightly colored electric lights. The lights shone through the window and it was an instant “drawing card” to people from miles around. Only upper class people could afford those early lights until GE put them in the $12 range. That was still too much when EverReady would make them available for $8. Some middle class homes were able to do that, but it was still out of reach for most. In 1924 GE and Westinghouse introduced a new set of lights which would become the standard for over 50 years. They burned cooler and offered better lighting than ever before. Eventually imagination took over and it was no longer just lights which were available. Snowflakes. Lit Santas. Icicles.
As they say…we’ve come a long way from what was to what is. For the good I might add…at least in this.
Years ago, Someone once called Himself “the Light of the world.” His light needs no electricity. His light is not available just to a certain class of people. His light is for all people, for all time. It does not surprise me the star which shown leading the wise men to the house where Jesus was staying shone so brightly for so long. His light still dispels darkness.
Historical information from this book by Ace Collins.