Christmas Lights A ‘Reminder of Systemic Biases’

Nena Arias | December 14, 2020

What has caused such warped thinking in America, of all places?

Can you believe what happened after a Minnesota nurse that works with coronavirus patients put up Christmas lights on her home. A cowardly anonymous neighbor left her a letter chastising her because the lights represented “a reminder of systemic biases against our neighbors who don’t celebrate Christmas or who can’t afford to put up lights of their own.”

The nurse received the letter, which stated:

I couldn’t help but notice your Christmas light display. During these unprecedented times we have all experienced challenges which casual words just don’t describe what we’re feeling. The idea of twinkling, colorful lights are a reminder of divisions that continue to run through our society, a reminder of systemic biases against our neighbors who don’t celebrate Christmas or who can’t afford to put up lights of their own.

We must do the work of educating ourselves about the harmful impact an outward facing display like yours can have. I challenge you to respect the dignity of all people, while striving to learn from differences, ideas, and opinions of our neighbors. We must come together collectively and challenge these institutional inequities; St. Anthony is a community welcoming of all people and we must demand better of ourselves.

Does the hypocrisy jump out at you as you read this letter? This cowardly person, who didn’t even have the intestinal fortitude to sign the letter talks about respecting the dignity of others and striving to learn from the differences, ideas and opinions of others, all the while violating this very principle they are advocating. Do they not listen to their own brain?

The nurse, Kim Hunt, told Fox News that she and her husband were “very surprised, shocked, and saddened by the letter,” adding: “The lights give me joy after coming home from work as a nurse working with COVID,” she said. “I wish we could all celebrate diversity and honor everyone’s traditions. These times we live in are so divisive, it’s a sad statement that Christmas lights have to be a target.”

I am so glad to learn that social media chimed in not only to defend this nurse’s right to decorate her house with lights, a standing tradition at Christmas in America since the 19th century, but also to offer to send her more lights. This light tradition began in America around 1890, candleholders were first used for Christmas candles. Between 1902 and 1914, small lanterns and glass balls to hold the candles started to be used. Early electric Christmas lights were introduced with electrification, beginning in the 1880s. Since then, most of us can’t wait to see the Christmas decorations at the shopping malls and strewn in every neighborhood in our cities. We even make time to ride around and view the decorated homes and neighborhoods. Not only because of the gaiety they bring but also because these lights remind us of the reason for the season, the coming of the light of the world – our Savior Jesus Christ.

The response has been overwhelming in favor of this nurse’s right to decorate her home with festive lights and people are even offering more lights. Hunt says that a local company has offered to come and install festive decorations for free along her street.

‘Systemic biases’ only exist in the minds of those who want to fabricate them as excuses for their deplorable behavior and warped thinking.

We invite them to experience the coming of the Savior on a personal level so they can see the world through our Lord’s eyes of love, mercy and salvation. Then, they too, will enjoy the lights and what they represent.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come! A truly Merry Christmas to all!