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Perspective: Holiday lights

Natalia Lavrinenko

Winter is officially here and the time for cozy living has arrived. We’re in the midst of some important winter holidays, most of which incorporate the mystery and magic of lights. Whether it’s festive lights strewn across the yard or candles that are lit in prayer and reverence, we’re all looking for a light in the darkness. Wonder, faith, hope, and magic fill hearts with a pleasant tickle of warmth and maybe a longing for a place and space that doesn’t exist anymore . . . or at least not quite the way you remember it.

The winter holidays can burn bright in our memories as we reflect on traditions we continue; the familiarity of the foods we annually prepare; or the gifts chosen with care. These markers in the deep stillness of Winter help us feel safe and protected. And the memories we have of the faces and places we miss provide a different kind of light that burns deep in our hearts. When you’ve lost all patience with the bitter weather, remind yourself how lucky you are to have a home where you can choose to be warm. When you feel you just can’t crank the snowblower or shovel the walk again, take a moment after sunset to gaze out at the snow and marvel at the way it continues to reflect whatever light it can well into the darkest night.

And when the season gets you down, why not be the light that shines for someone else. Call or text someone you’ve not seen in a while. Get involved in volunteer work. Do your neighbor a favor. Remember that the best way to stoke your inner fire is to spread its warmth to others.

I’m Suzanne Degges-White and that’s my perspective.

Chair and Professor - NIU counseling and higher education