I’ve never been one to go whole hog for Christmas decorations, especially the outdoor variety. Our external decorations consist of a wreath on the door: inside, nativity sets on the mantel. The only lights are on the Christmas tree.

lightsThe more stuff you put up, I figure, the more you have to take down. But, I don’t begrudge the folks who like going all out for Christmas, and when we go for walks in the evening, we’re treated to a variety of decor choices, from the simple elegance of candles in the window to the broadway extravagance of outdoor displays and driveways lined with enough lights to provide a safe landing strip for Santa.

Lighted inflatables became popular a few years ago. We don’t have to walk far to pass two large Santas and a snowman, a helicopter with twirling blades, and this year’s additions: Yoda and Darth Vader.

Darth Vader as a lighted inflatable Christmas decoration? The only thing that shows up is his red light saber. Peace on earth, indeed.

The latest thing in our neighborhood are nets of red or green lights that cover an entire side of the house (and are really hard to photograph). Some of them just sit there or blink, while others are programmed to shine in patterns that make the lights appear to dance — or to look like little bugs crawling all over the house. Now there’s a Christmasy thought — perhaps a reminder that the baby Jesus’ first starlit bed was probably infested with fleas, mites, and other critters that scurry in the dark.

And a humbling thought that is.

Tony Cartledge

About Tony Cartledge

Tony W. Cartledge is contributing editor of Baptists Today, in addition to teaching Old Testament studies and various ministry courses at Campbell University Divinity School. He formerly served as editor of the Biblical Recorder, newspaper of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, and as a pastor for 26 years. Tony is a graduate of the University of Georgia, Southeastern Seminary and Duke University, where he earned a Ph.D. He is the author of several books including the Smyth & Helwys commentary on First and Second Samuel and Telling Stories: Tall Tales and Deep Truths and several Bible study books for Nurturing Faith.