Without question, one of my favorite toys as a child was a Lite Brite. First marketed in 1967, the concept behind this toy could not be more simple: small, multicolored, translucent pegs are placed into holes on an opaque panel lit from behind. The arrangement of the pegs creates an image that can fill the room with wonder, hope, and even joy.
In retrospect, I am struck by the almost universal charm of the Lite Brite product. No matter age, skill, or education, one can add light and beauty to a room. The actual, physical Lite Brite I had as a child was a hand-me-down from my father; knowing that brought a sense of import to my playing as a child. I knew that I was connected to those who had gone before, even if I was only playing in my room.
The Christian Church celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th. The tradition recalls the arrival of the magi who have followed a star to the Christ child in Bethlehem. In addition to memorializing one event two thousand years ago, the Feast of the Epiphany reminds Christians that the light which we celebrate on Christmas is for all people, near and far. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will never over come it, but we do not own or control the light. We can, however, share the light.
Now, some two decades later, my three daughters have more toys than they need (even though they will tell you they do not). They have a Lite Brite, too. Even if it is not the exact same Lite Brite I played with as a child, I enjoy watching them add brilliant shades of light to their rooms. It helps (if only a little) alleviate the boredom of the pandemic.
I think we can all agree that there are plenty of areas of darkness in our world right now. As people have done for generations before, I encourage all of us to share and spread light, in all of its shades, colors, and hues. The light isn’t ours, and that is wonderful! Let us share it.