At this time of year twinkling and flashing colored lights shine brightly at parks, residences, businesses and public places.
This tradition many people would not want to break because they promote good cheer and a warm feeling, especially appreciated when darkness comes early and temperatures drop.
Angela and Brian Hubbard of Jackson set out to create a light show they loved when the couple married a few years ago.
Prior to that they both decorated their own homes. Combined, they had quite a collection of Christmas decorations. Then it evolved a bit more.
“A friend said, how about putting it to music?” Hubbard said.
That was three years ago. Since then the musical light show expanded even further to include benevolence for local folks in the community through donations made by visitors.
Since June, the Hubbard’s have worked out the synchronized display that lasts more than 20 minutes before repeating.
Visitors park outside the 1565 Jennifer Drive home and can tune into 92.1 FM to hear six Christmas songs selected by the Jackson couple, while enjoying the entertainment of pulsing lights and music with an appeal for all ages and tastes. The show runs from 6 to 10:30 p.m. daily and is ongoing until New Year’s Eve.
“Each song takes about 20 hours to program,” Angela Hubbard said.
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman,” was Brian’s favorite to program because of the challenge it presented with beats ranging from fast to slow.
Angela referred to her role as that of organizer. Measuring and planning out where components of the display look best, is her forte.
“You know, the candy canes have to be at a certain angle,” Angela Hubbard said. Brian worked out the technical details, relying on YouTube videos and Internet searching.
“There have been at least five cars parked here every night,” Brian Hubbard said.
It’s all he can account for from inside the house, and that is only when he’s not busy doing other things.
It’s hard to know what the actual count is and really it’s not super important. But the Hubbard’s like to share what they’ve created with others.
“One year my friend from Florida came to visit and even though we had started to take it down, we put it back up for him to see,” Brian Hubbard said.
Another reason it’s important that visitors see the show is to gain an awareness of CarePortal, a non-profit organization that connects needs verified by Cape County Division of Family Services to local churches; from there it trickles down to local church members satisfying those needs.
Visitors to the Hubbard’s musical light show can make donations to CarePortal if they wish.
“Last year was the first year we started collecting donations for Care Portal,” Angela Hubbard said. “We carried it through because it was so awesome.”
The light show raised about $500 in donations last year.
Shelly Gerard, CarePortal Regional Manager, said, “CarePortal supports families staying together, foster families, kinship and children aging out of the system.”
Providing the basics can be difficult for families feeling a financial strain. And keeping a child in his home instead of foster care is what parents and the state both want.
“It could be as simple as helping a family in need of a toddler bed. We know the items are Band-Aids. Our goal is to build relationships. I think this is what God wants,” Gerard, who does her part by providing transportation for a child whose parents cannot do so for her to be in sports, said.
Churches sign up to be a part of the service CarePortal generates. Children’s and family’s needs are validated by Family Services. CarePortal sends that information directly to church members’ inboxes and they meet the needs they choose to.
The Hubbard’s found out about CarePortal, a division of The Global Orphans projects, through their church group at Lynwood Baptist. In the Jackson/Cape Girardeau County area there are a dozen participating churches.
Gerard said, “This is just a really cool way for the church and state to work together for the betterment of the community by helping families stay together and get back together.”
The donations from participating churches help CarePortal to pay for their operating costs; they are a non-profit. Churches make some type of monthly donation or a one-time offering to CarePortal for this service.
Individuals wishing to make a donation may visit https://careportal.org/give/. Churches wishing to participate may contact Gerard at (573) 579-4999.