I have a handful of memories that are from so long ago that they seem like they were only a dream. One of them happens to be of my fourth birthday. I remember blowing out the candles on my cake and silently making my wish: to see some Christmas lights. I’m a December baby, so it wasn’t too ridiculous a thought. It might have been that we planned on going to the Zoo Lights, but decided not to since the weather was too cold. The thought of Christmas lights was somehow implanted on my small brain that evening, and that was the one thing I wanted.
After dinner, we shuffled out to our van and went for a drive. The next thing I remember is driving past house after house, each decked out in what seemed like thousands of colored bulbs. I sat gleefully in my car seat, bouncing my legs as I exclaimed, “My wish came true!”
As you can imagine, these were simply houses with strands of lights outlining their roofs and clothing their trees. I can only imagine what four year old me would have done had she actually gone to the Zoo Lights. I’ve recently had the joy and privilege of going to the Zoo Lights as a youth leader with Delaware Grace Brethren Church.
All small groups (or Bible studies) from the youth ministry planned to go and meet at the zoo. Two ladies from small group I help lead came: Mariah and Brittney. I picked them up at the church, and then we headed down to the zoo for our fun filled evening.
The Zoo Lights are incredible. I don’t care if you’re eight or eighty, they’re still cool. Seriously, almost every tree is covered in lights, there are some lights made to look like animals, and it’s practically a childhood fantasy. As I walked along the paths with Mariah and Brittney, I had to take a moment and reset my mind back to that four-year-old mindset. There’s a part of me—the whimsical childish part—that seemed to have all but died. I had to mentally refocus to realize I was walking through something amazing, something novel.
A lot of laughs and a few meaningful conversations later, our tiny group joined a larger group of youth from the church, and we walked around the zoo, laughing and having a fantastic time. We finished off the evening hanging out and warming up in the food court. It was great to get out of the cold, but what was even better was being with friends and talking. My favorite part had to be the part spent talking around the table, and the chats I had with Mariah and Brittney even while we were in the freezing cold. The Zoo Lights shine brightly, and they’re fantastic, and we ought to appreciate them. But just as each light shines, each person can hold a light inside them, bright and unique. We only have to take time to see it, and to cherish it.