Bob Tamasy: Season Of Lights

Thursday, December 12, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

If there’s one certainty about the Christmas season, it’s that we’re going to see lots and lots of lights. Lights on Christmas trees. Lights on poles along streets and roadsides. Lights on houses. Neighborhoods and communities even stage competitions to see who can design the most innovative, elaborate light displays – sometimes synchronized with accompanying music.

We see lights inside blow-up snowmen and reindeer. Candles in windows. Lights everywhere we look in the malls. Sometimes even Santa Claus can be spotted with lights dangling from his outfit.

I’m a big fan of these lights. In our home we have two lighted trees, one large and one small, along with the lights from inside our Dickens Village collection of miniature houses. Bright, warm, cozy-looking. Almost enough to encourage me to engage in some light humor.

With the Tennessee River running through town, Chattanooga residents conduct an annual Festival of Lights in which boaters decorate their crafts with lights – a water parade with floats literally afloat.

My online research friend, Mr. Google, tells me the tradition of lighting Christmas trees dates back to 18th century Germany, using candles. Sometimes with sad consequences. (I think that might have been the origin of the phrase, "Don't try this at home.")

Thomas Edison used his incandescent light bulbs to provide Christmas illumination around 1880, and the Savoy Theatre in London became the first building in the world to be fully lighted for the holiday with electricity.

A couple of years later one of Edison’s associates, Edward Johnson, prepared the first electrically illuminated Christmas tree. There’s no truth to the rumor, however, that Debby Boone used that occasion to sing “You Light Up My Life” for the first time.

The point is, people have been lighting up things during the Christmas season for centuries. While the original motivation seems unclear, it likely has a practical basis, related to the fact that December in many parts of the world has the shortest days and the darkest nights. That’s enough reason to load up on festive lights.

But there’s a more profound reason for making lights central to the celebration of Christmas. In Isaiah 9:2 it states, The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Then in Matthew 2:2, the Magi who had journeyed a long distance in search of the promised Messiah asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

Later, speaking to the multitude of people that were following him, Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

So it seems altogether appropriate to celebrate the Christmas season with a wide and often amazing assortment of beautiful, colorful lights, commemorating the birth of the One who promised “the light of life.” As it sometimes appears darkness in many forms is bearing down on us from every angle, we can use all the light we can get.


Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs,, and He can be emailed at

Thankful Missionary Baptist Church To Have Reunion Concert Oct. 17

Elder Oscar L. Lockhart, Sr., is retiring as pastor of Thankful Missionary Baptist Church at the end of the year after 35 years of faithful service. As part of Pastor Lockhart’s retirement celebration activities, there will be a Thankful Reunion Choir Concert on Saturday, Oct. 17, at 5 p.m. The concert will take place at the church at 980 N. Orchard Knob Ave., and will feature ... (click for more)

"Forgetting Who God Is" Is Topic At Middle Valley COG On Sunday

Middle Valley Church of God announces that Pastor Mitch McClure will speak on the topic, 'Forgetting Who God Is' in the 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday.  This is part of a series of messages from his 'Living Where We Are' series.  Pastor McClure will lead the congregation in a time of water baptism and worship in the 6:30 p.m. service on Sunday. Each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. ... (click for more)

Attorney Patrick Says Chattanooga Is "Most Logical Place" For Consolidating Volkswagen Lawsuits; Hearing Set Dec. 3

Attorney Gary Patrick said Chattanooga is "the most logical place for consolidating the Volkswagen litigation because it is the only location in the country where VW vehicles are being produced." Attorney Patrick, of the local firm of Patrick, Beard, Schulman and Jacoway, said a hearing is set Dec. 3 in New Orleans on the issue. A host of lawsuits seeking class action status ... (click for more)

Woman Stabbed To Death On Hooker Road; Man Injured; Suspect Being Interviewed

A young woman was stabbed to death on Hooker Road early Friday morning and a man was injured. At approximately 1:54 a.m., Chattanooga Police responded to a stabbing at the 4000 block of Hooker Road. There police located Angel Evans, 33, deceased. She was stabbed multiple times. A second person, Gerald Nelson, 24, was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening ... (click for more)

The Facts About Jail

Since Roy had such a positive reaction to Jeffrey Cross's wonderful (and wonderfully civil--how refreshing) email response to his column on the bike lanes, allow me to speak on the subject of the jail.  First off, Roy's right about some things:  It is overcrowded, underfunded, and understaffed.  This is no secret, it's in the Grand Jury report every term.  Here's ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Must Learn To Tell

On July 4th of this year, FBI agents – acting on a tip -- arrested Alexander Ciccolo, a 23-year-old with known mental problems, as he carried a duffle bag full of automatic attack weapons. Moments before, he had bought the illegal firearms from an undercover informant outside of Boston. As agents later scoured his apartment, they found bomb-making equipment including a pressure ... (click for more)