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Resolve to give back to the community
The Edwards family lights up their yard every year to celebrate Christmas and the birth of Jesus. - photo by Photo by Susan Exley

One New Year’s holiday tradition is that of making resolutions. Most people resolve, declare or promise that they will lose weight, quit smoking or other commitments. This tradition traces back to early Babylonians. Their most common resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.

Be challenged to decide to make your resolution something that will give back to your community. Fifteen years ago, a family decided to begin a tradition for the children. Citizens of the Clyo community known as Tiger Ridge started putting up “Lights for Christ” and their display grew and grew. Alvin and Sigma Edwards spoke to me about this on my recent visit to this year’s display.  

Alvin said his father, Theodore Edwards, was his inspiration.  Although Alvin said his father “did not have money to do much,” Alvin and his family have continued to nurture his father’s passion.

Others sharing in the light display on Lura Road are: Betty Bolton, Robert Davis, Cindy Evans, Barbara Menser and Earnest and Carol Edwards. The display has been written up in the New York Times. Visitors over the years have come from practically all of the states and other countries including Australia, Sweden and China.  

The Edwards family is waiting each evening to greet you by their fire barrel in the center of the lights. Park your vehicle and get out, walk around and see the remarkable display spread throughout the mobile home community. Practically all buildings, fences and structures are covered in lights or lighted figures. Many manger scenes highlight the area. The “Lights for Christ” instill in us childlike glee and bring smiles to all who visit.  

About 1,300 people have seen the lights so far in 2007. As costs go up, Alvin, Sigma and Earnest are not sure about next year’s display, but if there is a way, I am sure they will make a resolution to give back to their community with this delightful tradition.  

“Jesus is the reason for the season” is among the signs on the site.  They are quick to point out that they are glad to be able to do this and share the lights with others. If you can, leave a donation to help with the electricity or donate a new lighted display or some lights to Alvin. I hope that this will inspire the Edwards family to make a resolution to keep their 15-year tradition alive in their remote area of Effingham County. Be sure to drop by soon as they are turning off the lights Dec. 29.

Let the Edwards family inspire you to take on some kind of project to help your community in 2008. Whether you volunteer, provide a service or become a better neighbor, share your time and talent.

Historic Effingham Society wishes you and yours a Happy New Year. Resolve to visit Effingham Museum in the year to come and financially support the expansion of our Living History Site. You can remember your past and preserve some of what is left in this fast growing county so that future generations can enjoy seeing the “way it was.” Be sure to eat your black-eyed peas for good luck and collards or cabbage for prosperity on Jan. 1. May we all look forward to a healthy and happy 2008.

This column is written weekly by Susan Exley from the Historic Effingham Society.  If you have questions, old photographs, contributions or comments to share, please contact her at 754-6681 or email: