It is late and everyone has gone to bed. I am alone in the glow of the Christmas tree and as I put the last of the glasses into the dishwasher, I take a moment to look out the kitchen window. At first glance there is only blackness. To the left I see the lights on other houses in the neighborhood and the sky glows where overnight businesses are still open, but not visible to my eye.In the distance I can see the lights on the interstate like fireflies floating on a summer breeze. I realize that each of these tiny lights is a story, a life. In the mini-van is the family who left the suburbs after work to head to Tampa to be with grandma and grandpa for the holidays. They have a carrier on top of the van loaded with gifts. The children worry that Santa won't be able to find them in Florida, mom assures them he will. In the semi is the trucker who runs from Wisconsin to Atlanta and will make 2 more trips before having a few days off for Christmas. Tucked under the seat is the diamond necklace he plans to give his wife of 25 years. She will be so surprised; he has never done anything like that before. In the old Pontiac, with laundry piled in the back seat and the music thumping, is the college student. He is headed home to Southern Illinois for some "real food" and a little tender loving care from mom. He is worried about the final he took this morning; he has to pass that class to graduate. The SUV holds longtime companions Kevin and Anthony. They met in college and have been together 10 years. They flew into O'Hare this morning with their new little baby girl from China and are heading home to Memphis. The holidays have a new meaning for them this year. Everyone is passing the Cadillac that is driving 65, with 80-year-old Fred at the wheel. He and Martha are going back home to Michigan to be with family for couple of weeks. They left from Jacksonville 3 days ago; this is long trip for them.
As I unplug the Christmas tree and quietly head to my bedroom, I think of those tiny lights moving on that big highway. I pray for their safety as they travel. I hope this holiday season is all they want it to be. I think how each of us is really just a speck of light in a very big world and yet we are all connected. I feel an overwhelming sense of peace as the room goes dark.