On Thursday, November 24, a thousand people waited in front of St. Paul’s for the spectacular lights and fireworks show that is the annual Lights of Hope lighting ceremony.
The rain, approaching from the east, was on its way.
St. Paul’s staff, individual and corporate donors, and hundreds of Lights of Hope supporters who make attending this special event a family tradition were cold—but dry.
And then, to great cheers, the first fireworks shot skyward and the hundred thousand lights on the Lights of Hope display illuminated the night sky. For several spectacular minutes, the crowd was mesmerized by the spectacle.
And then, as the final firework faded, as if on cue, it started to pour.
But then something very special happened. No one went anywhere. Umbrellas opened, hoods were flipped up—and the crowd remained.
The celebratory feeling could not be denied as the sound of Christmas carols filled the air (four choirs sang that night!), as free hot chocolate was sipped to ward off the chill and as cookies-by-donation flew off kiosk shelves.
It seemed that no one was going anywhere at least until they could take a stroll through the brilliantly lit tunnels at the entrance to St. Paul’s, snapping pictures all the way.
And yes, there were lots of pictures. While research would need to be conducted to be sure, one could make a case for Lights of Hope being one of the most photographed holiday displays in Vancouver!
But we can’t forget what Lights of Hope is all about, and what all of those stars truly represent. The patients at St. Paul’s and the families and friends that are with them; the doctors, nurses and staff who provide such compassionate, around-the-clock care; and the members of our community, like you, who give the gifts that support it all.
Lights of Hope is only just underway and will shine brightly until January 9, 2017. Have you made your gift yet? You can give right now—and stay warm and dry while you do it!