December 23, 2017

Jesus Expects Fireworks?

Fireworks
Fireworks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, one could count on fireworks twice a year. Fireworks were an essential part of many 4th of July celebrations, and many towns would have official fireworks displays on the night of the 4th. In addition to these official programs, many people would throw their money away buying fireworks for home use. One could generally expect to hear exploding fireworks around residential neighborhoods until about 10:00 PM.

New Year's Eve was the second time of year one learned to expect fireworks; however, this was a much lower key affair. There were no big, organized fireworks displays and virtually no family-oriented fireworks. If one heard fireworks exploding on this night, one could safely bet that a bunch of drunk high school kids were responsible. One could expect to hear sporadic fireworks until about 1:00 AM, but there were years where there were none at all.

Here in Mississippi, there is a regional obsession with fireworks unlike anything I have experienced elsewhere. While organized displays only happen on July 4, many families include fireworks in their celebration of the 4th, New Year's Eve, and even Christmas. Evidently, Jesus expects fireworks. He expects them to begin a few days before Christmas Eve and continue until a few days after New Year's Day. He's not happy with sparklers or smoke bombs; he demands bottle rockets and real explosives capable of shaking windows and preventing anyone from sleeping (including those wearing earplugs). Most of all, he expects them to continue all night with total disregard for one's neighbors. What Jesus definitely does not expect, though, is for those shooting fireworks into other people's yards to clean up their mess afterward.

The biggest difference of all between fireworks everywhere else I've lived and here in Mississippi is the type of fireworks they use here. Families around here use the high-powered stuff I had only previously seen during city-sponsored displays. It seems legal to buy anything one wants, and there have been many times when I have wondered if what I am hearing in the middle of the night is actually dynamite.

The day after each of these holidays - and for at least a week around Christmas and New Years, I get to celebrate my lack of sleep by picking up debris from my yard. One of these years, I believe I will fill a bucket or two and deposit it on my neighbor's porch.

An earlier version of this post was written in December of 2005. It has been revised and expanded because...Jesus.