I grew up in Pasadena, CA. Pasadena is known for many wonderful things. Some of my favorite Christmas memories were to drive all around through Hastings Ranch and up to the Balian House to see all the fabulous Christmas lights and decorations. The Balian House is in Altadena, CA, a Pasadena suburb up in the hills. The Balians are famous for Balian Ice Cream and every year, the house was decorated to the 9’s for Christmas. It was always a good way to start the festive holiday celebrations by going to visit the lights at the Balian House and/or driving through Hastings Ranch.
The custom of Christmas lights was borrowed from pagan yule rituals that celebrate the return of the light of the sun as the days grow longer after solstice: the evergreen trees symbolizing the renewal and continuance of life in dark times. The Christmas trees were brought by Christians into their homes in early modern Germany. To that effect, the Christmas lights also symbolize the stars, particularly the Star of David, that appeared in Bethlehem the night Christ was born. Even thought the use of lit Christmas trees and Christmas lights didn’t start with Christianity, displaying Christmas lights can remind us to follow Christ and His path.