Call me Chris.

I didn’t blog yesterday. I meant to. I ran out of time with the holiday festivities. We’re visiting family back home, so we have a number of different activities we engage in with this side of the family or that one.

I did want to blog about what we did do though. Last night, my wife took my daughter and I to see the Christmas lights at Botanica, The Wichita Gardens. I’ve never seen the Christmas display there. Seeing it through the eyes of the Covid restrictions was an interesting experience.

Rather than focus on the negative aspects of the pandemic and what it’s taken from our society this year, I’d like to write about how the light show was a celebration. Despite all that has happened to each family across our country, cities and towns have put in tireless and creative energy giving their residents and guests a place to feel welcome for the holidays. I felt grateful.

The light show at the Gardens was split between a walking portion, using social distancing protocols and limits on occupancy; and a driving portion for those who preferred to stay in their cars. We chose the walking tour. Aside from it being 29 degrees with a strong north wind cutting through our bones, it was an amazing display. Santa and Mrs. Claus were behind a glass garage door where children could still pose for pictures. They had a PVC pipe wrapped and shaped like a candy cane where they could shoot out peppermints for the kids outside of the garage enclosure. It was priceless because it demonstrated how creative we can be when overcoming our environment or other obstacles, pushing forward with life as we know and love it.

The highlight of the event was a display where the trees and surrounding landscape were timed to sync on and off with the music that played. I’m rarely what I would call awestruck. I was at a loss for words when I saw it. I stopped in my tracks and—through my mask—let out an “oh, wow.” I’m sure many of you have seen something similar in your lives. I’ve seen the videos of similar displays on the internet. What struck me at the time—and still strikes me now—is that this is yet another example of how we push ourselves to find creative energy to give one another a feeling of warmth, compassion, or solidarity, regardless of any pandemic disrupting our daily existence.

Suddenly, I didn’t feel the cold when I was watching that display. I forgot about the pandemic. I was mesmerized by the display and lingered behind as my wife and daughter walked on ahead for a few moments. The folks at Botanica did their job well. They made me forget about 2020, so that I could reflect on the collective beauty we bring out of one another to celebrate Christmas as a country.

I’m thankful for the experience last night. I’m thankful to reflect on what it means for our society. I always talk about the need for us to unite, to come together and set aside our differences, to remember our common causes, and to share our compassion with others we may not agree with on much of anything. Last night was exactly that for me. And I’m grateful for the memory as well as the reminder that we haven’t given up on one another just yet. Merry Christmas to you and yours. God bless our country. As always, this has been the World According to Chris.

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