I’m a “less is more” kind of guy, particularly when it comes to Christmas lights. So, when we moved last year and the previous owner had hooks already installed outside to hang lights, I thought I was in heaven. I tested the few lights I needed and hung them in less than 30 minutes – the easiest holiday setup in my decade of home ownership…until I turned them on. One half of a whole window was out. My obsessive compulsive engineer of a new neighbor noticed my outage and my surprise. When he offered to help me test each bulb, I told him I didn’t think it was worth it and that I would just connect another strand to cover the outage. My neighbor looked at me with disappointment. “Shouldn’t those lights have the chance to work?” he asked. “Not to mention the fact that if you don’t fix the one that’s broke, it’s going to keep shorting the others.”
As I twisted each bulb, I thought about how frequently I find myself so desperate to get to the brightest finish that I overlook the individual lights that make it possible. Am I willing to intentionally invest in every one I lead as an individual in order for the team to be as strong as possible? Do I take the time to discover the light, the “God-given talents” that each person can offer others? If I don’t, my Christmas lights might not be the only things that burn out. As we rejoice during this Gaudete week of Advent, let’s give thanks for all those people in our lives that shine and not give up on those that might, if we let them.