Lest we forget, the origin of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ–not just an ode to shopping, santas, elves, reindeer, marketing, excess and lights. This was not lost on Sundar Shadi, an immigrant from India and long-time resident of El Cerrito, California who put up a life-size display in front of his hillside home for 50 years until his death in 2002 at the age of 101. Volunteers have continued the tradition and it remains a holiday pilgrimage for Bay Area residents.
I lived nearby in the late ’90s and was awestruck when I drove by one early morning on my way to work and saw the elaborate display that seemed to magically appear overnight.
To learn more about Sundar and his life and faith, go here.