It’s listed as one of the top ten Christmas activities in Pennsylvania. Koziar’s Christmas Village, located north of Reading and really out in the country, has been in business for 75 years. Family owned and operated, it’s a walkthrough Christmas lights display. I’ve been to many drive-through displays over the years, but on Saturday we went to this walk-through. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. In the end, it was like many such attractions—lots of lights and painted plywood cutouts, flocked animals and dioramas with mechanically moving dolls. What was truly impressive, however, was the number of people there. Opening daily at 5 p.m., just as it’s getting dark, the sizable parking lot was already filling up at 4:30. Walking through the display was essentially letting yourself by moved along by the crowds. There were thousands of people there on Saturday night.
Getting into our car to head home, there were yet miles of cars backed up wanting to get in, and this was at 8:30. Such sights of Christmas put us in holiday mode. Seeing so many other people getting into the spirit of things was, in its own way, inspirational. The next night—this being the weekend before the holiday itself—we attended the Christmas with the Celts concert at the Zollner Arts Center in Bethlehem. Bethlehem prides itself on being “Christmas City,” founded, as it was, on Christmas Eve by the Moravians. Christmas with the Celts is an annual show with different line-ups having in common live music, Celtic tunes, and Christmas. The auditorium was pretty full, so I was glad for our masks. They didn’t get in the way of the sounds of Christmas and a few stories from Ireland.
The sights and sounds of Christmas are part of what make this time of year so memorable, and something to which we look forward each year, despite the shortness of the days and the coldness of the air. There’s a hopefulness about the holiday season, an underlying awareness that things need not always be as they are now. Just two days away, the winter solstice—the holiday of Yule in its own right—marks the slow turning point to longer days. It means winter is just getting started, but the cold brings with it more and more light in compensation. Holiday sights and sounds help us through this transition. And maybe, if things go right, they won’t be just the same as before afterwards, they may be even better.