Decorating with Hope

January 6, 2012
By Mariss BRONZE, Moberly, Missouri
Mariss BRONZE, Moberly, Missouri
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life's not about siiting around waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning how to dance in the rain!"

A house full of Christmas lights might not seem like a big deal, but a recent study has proven otherwise. Lights on a dreadful cold night can become a nice warm welcome. In gloomy economic times, or other circumstances, they can mean even more. One study had found that outdoor holiday lights could tell a lot about a neighborhood. “No matter what type of neighborhood that the lights were found in, they still represented a community's spirit or social capital, even indicating how well neighbors care for one another”, says David Sloan Wilson, who is a professor in Binghamton University's departments of biology and anthropology. The study had found that neighbors simply express their feelings and goodwill towards others when decorating outside. These statistics can also be backed up by some stories of gratitude and hope like this one.

There was nothing more doctors could do for 2-year-old Dax Locke. So his devastated parents brought him back to their Illinois home, in October last year. All they could hope for, at that point, was to have one last Christmas with their son, who had a rare form of leukemia. Julie Locke remembers hating to leave the security of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, where Dax had undergone two unsuccessful bone marrow transplants. She hadn't heard much from anyone from home in a few days.

"Are they forgetting about Dax?" she wondered. Then she and husband Austin drove into their neighborhood in a small town outside Peoria. It wasn't even Halloween, and yet the houses were covered in red, green and white holiday lights and decorations. The Lockes broke down and cried as they looked at all the lights, some spelling out Dax's name.

When their rosy-cheeked, towheaded little boy awoke, even as sick as he was, he grinned with delight. Neighbor Trish Hurtgen had no idea that the decorations would spread through town the way they did, even going up in other parts of the country and on overseas military bases. She had simply made a flyer and gone door to door with her family, asking nearby neighbors to decorate for Dax. "I can't say that we ever expected it to be what it turned out to be. But that's often how life is. Sometimes people respond in ways you'd never imagine." Dax did live to see that last Christmas. He died Dec. 30, 2009, in a hospital room near his home that nurses also decorated with strings of multicolored lights. His story and the community's response inspired Matthew West, a Nashville-based singer, to write a newly released song titled "One Last Christmas." It's one of many ways people are supporting a fund the Lockes started in hopes of raising $1.6 million, enough money to run the St. Jude hospital for one day. So far, the Lockes have raised about $250,000(

There are many other stories similar to this one that proves that hanging up outside decorations can bring Great Spirit to you and many others. Stories such as this one make me realize that an hour in the cold, hanging up lights is nothing to complain or be hesitant about! So get up off the couch, go outside, and hang your decorations before it’s too late.

The author's comments:
I am on the staff for my school newspaper and i came across a story and decided to write about it for our Christmas issue

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