Harken back a few years. I was THE expert on luminarias in the old land. Tonight we decorated the Alaska house. Looking at the finished display, I had to laugh. The spacing was shoddy, some bag seams had been placed out (sinful!), and the little tea candles were barely bright enough to light the bags. We put out a third of the number I'd deem adequate, and our steeply pitched roof and lot don't make much of a palette for the maestro of Christmas candle light.
But our little display drew a minor parade of light watchers. Our neighbor's house blazes and both of our homes are visible from the main road, so quite a few folks drove by, many of whom I am sure, living in Alaska, had never seen luminarias.
Lame as it was in comparison to past efforts, I couldn't help but be as enchanted as ever. The soft flicker reached into my heart and pulled some favorite memories with friends and family. The thought of a village street in Penitente New Mexico on Christmas eve, a chosen young couple and baby leading the townsfolk along the farolito lined path to midnight mass, celebrating the birth of God's promise of peace and forgiveness; it charms and awes me still.
Merry Christmas Alaska. And Merry Christmas too to those who live in places with more Christmas tradition. May it never fail to stir us.