In 2001, the Richards family of Canberra, Australia, set the Guinness World Record for the most holiday lights ever to grace a human house with an exact total of 331,038 bulbs. The family’s record stood for more than a decade. Then, in 2012, Tim Gay and his family from LaGrangeville, New York were successful at outdoing the Richards family. They decorated their house with 346,283 lights.
The gauntlet was thrown down and the contest began. The Richards couldn’t stand being beaten, especially by an American family. So they decorated their house with more than 29 miles of electrical wire, which equals more than 502,165 lights.
Of course, the competition didn’t stop. Not to be outdone by the Richards family, the Gay family bested the old record by nearly 100,000 lights by displaying 601,736 bulbs. It took the family over two months to build and cover some two acres. The display also involves much more than lights; it includes more than 200 songs, both top-40 hits and traditional holiday songs.
As Tim Gay told Guinness, on the occasion of his win: “My family and I are thrilled to bring the World Record back to the United States.” He added, “And we’re even more excited that we did it with nearly 100,000 more lights than the previous record.”
I wonder if somewhere these two families lost the original meaning of Christ’s birth. Although this story borders on the bizarre, I wonder if there isn’t some part of us that are like the Richards or the Gays. Sure, we might not get caught up in one-upmanship of lights, but don’t many of us risk missing the meaning of Christmas with our own mad frenzy of bigger and better?
Perhaps a Facebook post by one of our members says it best:
So this is the point of the holiday season when I usually fall apart. This year our minister did a series called the Advent Conspiracy. The basic tenets are spend less, worship fully, give more and love all. Our family made the commitment and honestly there has been more laughter, less stress, and more focus on Christ.
I hope this Christmas you have “The Moment” when you meet Jesus in a very real and personal way!