The Ultimate “Driveway Moment”
If you’re like me, a long-time fan and listener of National Public Radio, you’ll know that the term “driveway moments” refers to those times you’ve pulled into your driveway listening to a story on the radio, a story so timely or interesting that you just have to sit in your car for a few more minutes, listening until the end of the story.
Monday morning’s NPR piece on Christmas Lights struck me as a “driveway moment” (even though I was still in my PJ’s and not actually in my car). The story began with an interview with a lighting store owner explaining how 2020, despite all the pain, loss and financial hardship, has been an exceptional year for people decorating their homes with Christmas lighting. The story concluded with comments from a young woman who, despite losing both of her parents in 2020, had decided to dress up her home with Christmas lights for the first time ever. As she fought back the tears, she explained that it was mostly for her kids and, as she put it, “The best way to honor those who are no longer here is to live and be happy.”
Maybe it wasn’t so much the story itself, but the timing, coming as we approach the longest night in the middle of the darkest month of a very difficult year. 2020 has been a year of unprecedented natural disasters, of political and societal upheaval, and of course an ongoing pandemic that descended on the world like the script from a SciFi disaster movie, a pandemic that continues to keep us apart from our friends and families, and that continues to kill thousands each day.
But as the pandemic death toll crossed 300,000, Monday was also a historic dawn of a new day as the first vaccinations began to be administered to healthcare workers, so the image of a small home in the depths of a North Carolina night suddenly emblazoned with light after many dark Decembers seemed an amazingly timely metaphor for the day.
But as the news program moved on, my thoughts wandered away from the here and now and back to another story that took place in another part of the world more than 2000 years ago, a story we were recently reminded of yet again as we lit the first candle of Advent:
The world says, “All is lost.”
God says, “All is loved.”
The darkness says, “The light is dying.”
The light says, “The fire is catching.”
Fear says, “Cover your eyes and your ears.”
Hope says, “Wait, watch, and listen.”
As we light our first Advent candle,
We pray for holy hope of God.
Come now, O Child of Mary.
Come now, O Prince of Hope.
Those words were yet again a reminder of the greatest “driveway moment” of all, the story of the birth, death, and resurrection of the Christ Child.
Have a Safe and Blessed Christmas,