Dear Tiny Town of Tekoa ,
Thank you! Thank you for reminding me of an important perspective this holiday season.
Christmas has been been wildly off kilter for my family. Last year we spent nine days (including Christmas day itself) in the hospital, anxiously waiting for my husband to hopefully wake up normal and healthy from a second coma in two years. (Thankfully he did, and we’re celebrating a year of much improved health for him.) Right on the heels of that, however, we’ve greatly increased our travels back and forth across far reaches of the state to assist another family member, and it looks like another holiday consumed with struggles and challenges is in the forecast.
On this second mission, I’ve been to Tekoa so many times that many people think I’ve moved back to the area. Yet, somehow in all of the comings and goings of the last few years, I’ve missed the famed Christmas lights on the trestle … until this year.
I didn’t even realize how deep and weary a spot had grown in my heart from all of these challenges, but upon seeing the trestle at night, warmth flooded deep into me. A mere holiday decoration to many, I really needed to see that long, long – very long – strand of lights, the flashing snowflakes, the cheery wreathes, and the kind wishes of a Merry Christmas beckoning from miles away as I wound around the curves approaching town.
While not everyone celebrates the holidays the same way anymore, a town that comes together to celebrate in the way it knows best breathed hope – joy even – into me, and likely does the same for everyone who passes under the soft glow in the dark.
The world often feels so fragmented anymore, but your gesture to light the night in the bleak of winter points back to the heart of Christmas. You reminded me of THE Light shining in the darkness Who came to remind us that we are loved … that the trials of this world are temporary … that kindness and forgiveness go a long ways.
I happen to know that as a community, your celebration of the season goes deeper than lights on a railroad bridge. One shop had a tree set up with tags of gifts that will benefit people in the community. I was amazed to learn that all the tags were claimed in just a few hours of the first day made available. Wow! That is a contagious kind of generosity.
A town-wide decorating contest, decorations on the main street, a gingerbread decorating contest at the local coffee shop, churches working to assist those needing an extra boost, cheerful greetings wherever I go, an upcoming free talent show planned at the historic theater to say thank you to the community … there are so many sincere touches that your community has put into the season.
I know that Tekoa isn’t a perfect place, but I’ve seen many evidences that your town lives the hope of the season year round. In spite of struggles and the financial stretches and sacrifices of time and possessions, your gesture of providing light in the darkness has reminded me of the strength of community and the power of goodness.
Merry Christmas, Tekoa! Keep on taking the efforts to point us to the better parts of being human. Wishing you a beautiful 2018!
PS I heard that something like 800 people live in Tekoa; guess you’re not really that tiny … not in heart, anyway!
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