Out In The Cold

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Our Christmas lights outside had been set up and my wife had our door and porch dressed up for the holidays. And like the song goes – “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

Last night, though it was cold, the moon was bright and the night was clear, and we were outside for about an hour just staring at our Christmas lights and our outdoor decorations. I know they were beautiful but we were wise enough not to spend an hour outside and freeze just to gaze at them. We were not looking for the Christmas Star either, we’re not that wise men.

The fact of the matter was, we were locked out. Yes, we were locked out of our own home!

It was a long busy day and we were coming from an evening activity and we were all too weary and tired to rest for the night. However, trouble struck and we cannot go in inside our home. It was not that we forgot our keys, in fact each one of us have a house key. We even retrieved the “extra” key that was hidden somewhere outside our door, which we keep for security in case we lost our key. But all of our keys did not work. The problem was the door lock itself was jammed.

We spent a fair amount of time trying each key and fidgeting to unlock our door. But to no avail. Finally we resigned that we cannot open the door and that we needed help. So using our smart phone, we googled the number and called in a locksmith to rescue us. Of course, it was pricey. A hundred dollars minimum just for them to come in emergently. With our predicament, I don’t think we had a choice. Sleeping outside like the shepherds did during Christmas night was not an option for us.

The locksmith said that he would be there in 30 minutes, so we stayed in our car in the driveway while we waited for him. Though my son, who was home from college, was still trying to get us in by disassembling the door itself using the “MacGyver” tools he had in his backpack, but we told him that he can stop since help was coming.

As we sat in the cold staring at our Christmas lights, a thought hit me: It does not matter how beautiful our Christmas lights were, or our decorations outside, because all we want was to be warm inside our home. All that matter that night was what was inside our home.

Maybe we just wish to enjoy a hot chocolate in our cozy kitchen. Or take a hot shower to refresh our fatigued bodies. Or maybe just crawl inside the blanket in our comfortable beds to end this long day. But no, we have to wait until the locksmith come and open the door and let us in.

Though we were chilly and exhausted, we were not worried that much and we were even thankful, for somehow we felt that we would be alright whatever happens.

The locksmith came as he promised. He tinkered a little bit with the door lock using our keys and his “master” key but determined quickly that the lock was broken. Yet he was able to pop open our door using some pneumatic device, a nifty trick of their trade. After collecting his payment and suggesting we need to replace the door lock, he quickly disappeared into the night. Perhaps he has someone else to rescue.

If there’s some insight I want to share from this experience besides having the number of your local locksmith handy, it is this – it is not important what is outside our house, for what matters most is what’s inside.

We might have bright Christmas lights hanging on our roof, or reliable cars parked on our driveway, or a well-maintained lawn. Those pale in significance compared on what is inside the home. And I am not talking about the Christmas tree, or the gas oven, or even the fireplace. What I mean is the warmth and love that we share. That will sustain us even through the coldest winter or bleakest circumstances.

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