'Twas the Light Before Christmas
Author: Craig Hysell
Somewhere along the line the holiday spirit got lost in translation. The deeper meaning of the season was pushed to the bottom of Santa’s sack as the need for bigger and better gifts grew and grew. Lines at the shopping malls were huge. People fought over parking spaces and went into debt to prove they cared about one another. They thought they had to show how much they loved one another by the size of their gifts rather than by just giving gifts at all. The situation was becoming dire.
In 1990 there was a baby girl born to the Lolik family who lived on Dove Street. To celebrate her first Christmas, they decorated the huge magnolia tree outside their front door. The family living next door, the Becklers, thought it looked festive and decided to decorate their yard. It soon blossomed into the annual spectacle known as the Dove Street Lights that wowed neighbors and gained attention within the community.
Over the years people would stop by and offer them money assuming that their electric bills were quite expensive. The Dove Street folks politely declined but explained that if donations were left in a box on the street they would be cheerfully passed along to charity. The Deep Well Project was selected as the beneficiary, as all funds would be used locally.
Slowly people began to contemplate once again that giving a little might mean a lot. More and more people on Dove Street put lights on their homes. Donations poured in. Soon, the community became so generous that the Dove Street residents were having a hard time keeping up. They needed help!
Today the Deep Well Foundation accepts donations on the Dove Street residents’ behalf. From Dec. 13 through Christmas Eve, people from all over the world stop by Rita’s Italian Ice shop in Coligny Plaza to give a little something in the name of a greater good. In return, they get to see where the proceeds to Deep Well have gone, sip some hot chocolate and listen to carols sung by volunteers of local church groups.
But, perhaps, amid the winter wonderland of lights and carloads full of happy families, the return is much greater. Perhaps, just perhaps, a realization brightens their hearts like the lights that fill their eyes and, for a brief moment, they remember that each one of them can make a difference.
And it just takes one tiny gift at a time.
*The author would like to particularly thank Julie Jilly, a volunteer with Deep Well, for her instrumental help in telling this story. Happy Holidays to all.
Deep Well Project
154-A Beach City Road