Lighting the Way

Published 11:04 pm Thursday, December 24, 2009

CHESAPEAKE — Wise men followed the light of a star to the birthplace of Christ and Chesapeake residents could probably follow a similar light to the Griffins’ house.

Terry and Linda Griffin have decorated their home on Chesapeake Symmes Creek Road with an estimated 14,000 lights.

“It’s all about Christmas and Christmas is through the eyes of a child,” Terry Griffin said. “It’s one month out of the year and I want to give back to the community.”

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The display features 12 mini trees, three large trees, a train, a 27-foot Peace on Earth sign, six deer, some of the couple’s own trees from the yard and nine or 10 wreaths on the windows. There are also two arches of lights and candy canes that line the driveway.

The lights are computer programmed to synchronize with eight Christmas songs that are transmitted on the radio. Visitors can tune their radios to 88.7 FM to hear the songs.

Griffin had the lights up last year as well, but said he has learned much over the past year and the lights are better this time.

Throughout the year, Griffin spends about an hour each night working on the programming of the lights. He estimates that four hours of programming goes into each three-minute song.

As for the display itself, Griffin and his family started putting it up a few months ago.

“I think I started in the last of September and I was hoping to get it going at Thanksgiving but I didn’t get it done until the first or second day of December,” he said.

The work is a family affair, as many members of his family help out.

“We enjoyed it,” he said. “It’s hard work but it’s just amazing the results that come out of it.”

While the family has a good time working on the lights display, the public also likes the lights.

“When someone stays there for 25 minutes, you know they’ve enjoyed it,” Griffin said, adding that he has seen some cars come back to see the lights a second time.

Griffin’s inspiration for the lights display came from a family in Utah that did a similar display. The Holdman’s display featured spiritual songs such as Amazing Grace, Silent Night and Angels We Have Heard On High.

Griffin’s song choices are similar and either have something to do with Christ or are for children, he said.

Some of the songs are Amazing Grace, Carol of the Bells, Messiah and Christmas with a Capital C.

Griffin hopes to continue the lights display in the coming years. He also would like eventually to use it to raise money for programs that benefit children.

“They really inspire me on what they’re trying to do for kids,” he said.

The Christmas lights are on each night beginning around 5:30 until 11 p.m.

The light display will be up until the first of the year.