The Christmas light mystery – Denison Forum


I was walking in my neighborhood this morning when I came
upon a house with Christmas lights on. The display was not intricate—some
strings of bulbs on sticks in the ground lining the front yard. As I walked up
to the house, the lights clicked off.

Today is January 23, the twenty-ninth day after Christmas.
What scenarios, I wondered, could explain this unusual situation?

Two broad categories of options presented themselves to me,
each of which is relevant to any possible action I might take in response.

Scenario one: The homeowners installed the lights themselves.

If this was the case, at least five possibilities arise.

(1) The owners like having Christmas lights outside their
home and thus have not removed them. If so, they would likely not appreciate my
knocking on their door to tell them their lights are still out or removing the
lights for them. In fact, they might consider my actions to be trespassing
rather than ministry.

(2) The owners forgot they installed the lights. If they are
on a timer, they might come on after the owners go to bed and go off before
they wake up. If so, they would be surprised and perhaps chagrined to learn
that they are the only house in our neighborhood with Christmas lights on
display and might be grateful to me for pointing out the situation to them.

(3) The owners are traveling and thus have not been able to
remove the lights. If so, however, it seems they would have removed them before
leaving or called friends, neighbors, or family to do so. On the other hand,
their trip might have been so sudden and so distracting that they are not
concerned about the lights. If so, they might be grateful if I removed the
lights for them.

(4) The owners installed the lights but are not able to
remove them due to illness or disability. If so, it would seem that they would
have called their friends, neighbors, or family for help. But if they have no
one to help, they would likely be grateful for my…

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