Golf Course Acres to host Lights for Jesus Saturday

Published 8:05 am Wednesday, December 12, 2018

One local project may not seem like it can do much, but even the smallest of community events can turn into city-wide community staples.

The Golf Course Acres neighborhood has organized its own Christmas light show for the past 40 years.

Pat Sweeney, a member of the community, said his wife first organized the Lights for Jesus as part of their Bible group.

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“My wife and her sister held a children’s Bible club in the neighborhood, and they wanted a project they could work on together,” Sweeney said.

The group set up candles and other lights around the neighborhood to commemorate Jesus’s birthday.

Now, 40 years later, the project has evolved from just a few people to incorporate almost all of the 150 homes in their subdivision.

Eleven block leaders work together to collect and organize the roughly 6,000 lights they display every year, with Sweeney and his wife Joyce Sweeney serving as coordinators.

“This is a time to interact with neighbors and to remember the reason for the season,” he said.

Despite the large neighborhood focus and heritage, Sweeney said the event is not just for them: any and all are welcome to come by and see the lights with their families.

“There is usually bumper-to-bumper traffic to see the lights,” he said. “We really want people from all over to come and see them.”

The light show takes roughly two months to thoroughly prepare. Collections for lights begin as early as October.

“It is rewarding to see people participating in this,” Sweeney said. “This is a chance to remember Jesus is the reason for the season.”

He said he hopes the Lights for Jesus get people into the spirit of Christmas and learn what it is really about.

Out of all the years he has done this event, Sweeney said his favorite year of the lights has to be his first one.

“We had never done it before, so we did not know what to expect,” he said. “It is always good to see them, but that first time was special.”

Lights for Jesus will start this upcoming Saturday, Dec. 15, at around 5:30 p.m.

“This is for everyone who can drive to it,” Sweeney said. “We really want people from all over to come.”