Last Saturday, there was a Christmas meal for international students at East London Tabernacle. On Friday night, a few of us were there to help set up. After peeling and chopping the last spuds, ending up with more than we needed, we were mainly setting up tables and decorating.
While I don't think my Greek carols were widely appreciated, BJ did get the silly mood going, with his headwear. The next night @lex and Nick* did their best to convince some that tinsel and baubles are traditional English Christmas fashion (see right). I think the highlight of the decorating was the lights on the Christmas tree, particularly that big star covered in light globes at the top.
The Christmas lights are up all over the place now, with bells, trees and candles outside our house, as well as the shapeless coloured lights that hve been up since Eid/Diwali/Guy Fawkes. The lights are definitely a welcome cheery addition to the long nights and a contrast to the sun, which for the few hours that it is up each day, is right on the horizon, and in my eyes through my south-facing window. They are definitely appropriate for any sort of winter festival, but have extra significance when we think of the Christ of Christmas. His birth was announced by a throng of angels and a star that would put tree-topper to shame. More than that, John says that not only is this baby the word of God that said "Let there be light", he is also the ultimate light of the world, brightening a darkness much deeper than any winter.
(* according to their name tags. "Nick" was claimed to be the name of the silent central character in the life of King David, but that's another matter...)