We were preparing to celebrate our first Christmas as missionaries in Barranquilla, Colombia. The city was filled with palm trees and bougainvillea, but nary an evergreen was to be found in that tropical climate.
This might be a good time to mention that electrical service was not exactly reliable in our city. Sometimes the electricity worked perfectly. At other times, we had no power for hours or days at a time. In addition, the electrical wiring in our South American home was a bizarre tangle of confusing connections. There were no universal government requirements or standards for wiring installation. In the middle of preparing supper that night, we were plunged into sudden darkness. As I rummaged in the junk drawer for a flashlight, we peeked out the kitchen windows. Our entire neighborhood had experienced a blackout. The lights were out in every direction. And then we walked into the living room and saw something quite unexpected. The colorful twinkling bulbs on our recently decorated Christmas tree shimmered in the blackness.
To this day, we have no idea how or why our Christmas tree lights managed to stay on while the rest of our barrio remained shrouded in darkness. The only explanation we could come up with was that the wire to the outlet where the tree lights were plugged in must be connected to a power source somewhere far beyond the boundaries of our neighborhood. Those red and green and blue and yellow bulbs were the only visible light for as far as the eye could see.
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