By Rick Palsgrove
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has made this a year of emotional shadows.
When coupled with the darkness of December – with its early sunsets as the sun completes its journey south prior to the winter solstice – it is clear we need some hope and light.
Recently this cloak of dimness of the soul and sight was relieved by the illumination of the joyously colorful lights of the city of Groveport’s Christmas tree and other trees in Heritage Park along Wirt Road.
On Dec. 3, Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, Mayor Lance Westcamp, and a host of elves lighted the trees in a brief event that was not open to the public due to the pandemic.
However, the ceremony can be seen now on the city’s Facebook page.
In previous years the holiday event, known as “A Heritage Holiday,” attracted large crowds of children and adults to Heritage Park eager to see Santa arrive on a Madison Township fire truck. In those past times, Santa happily moved through a mob of kids making an effort to acknowledge each of them before meeting up with the mayor to light the trees. The Jolly Old Elf would then take his seat in the log house to hear each child’s Christmas wishes.
But this year in Heritage Park, because of the pandemic, there was no crowd of happy-faced children, no choir or musicians performing Christmas carols, no ice sculptor creating his icy art, and no hayrides around Palm Pond. Those are things we remember happily from past Christmas seasons and they are the things we as a community look forward to returning to in the coming years after this dreadful pandemic wanes.
So this year the tree lighting celebration (which was also streamed live on Facebook) was simpler and quieter than in the past. But it is important to remember that, in spite of the pandemic, the ceremonial event was safely held, which proves the pandemic cannot tamp down the Christmas spirit of the people of Groveport. Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with a few elves, visited the city to bring hope, joy, colorful lights, and the promise of a brighter future for everyone. Mrs. Claus even graced the night by singing a Christmas carol.
The colorful lights in Heritage Park are indeed something to see. Take a drive by the park some night this holiday season and drink in the beauty and color that is exhibited there. Gaze upon the richness of the color of the lights as they glow in the night. Think about how each light represents each of us one and all and how, when joined together, we make a place beautiful. Take some time while looking at the lights in the park to reflect on the past, present, and future of us all. Pause to remember the meaning of the season.
Merry Christmas everyone.