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Robert Russell, pastor and author, tells a story of how about twenty years ago there was a house near the entrance of his subdivision that kept their Christmas lights burning long after the season was past. They burned through January. Even through the first of February those outside lights burned every night. Finally, about the middle of February, he said, he became a bit critical and said, "If I were too lazy to take my Christmas lights down, I think I’d at least turn them off at night."

But about the middle of March there was a sign outside of their house that explained why they’d left the lights on. It said simply, "Welcome home, Jimmy." Pastor Russell went on to say, “We learned that that family had a son in Vietnam, and they had unashamedly left their Christmas lights on in anticipation of his return. Lights are a symbol of hope."

(Robert Russell, author and pastor of Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Kentucky)

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