Christmas lights return early to Sumter


Sumter City Councilman David Merchant, his wife, Laurie, and their children will attest to the notion that Mother Nature and God have our best interests at heart.

Because of heavy rain at the start of this year, the Merchants have been unable to get the right lifting equipment through their yard in the Heathlywood subdivision to take down their Christmas lights.

According to Laurie Merchant, David and the kids always put up a big display in December for the Christmas season.

On Wednesday, a neighbor and friend, Louise Kay, ran across a Southern Living magazine article about how many people across the U.S. have put their Christmas lights back up for display in the wake of the coronavirus crisis as a sign of their faith, hope and solidarity.

Kay immediately thought of the Merchants and reached out to Laurie on Facebook, asking if David could get the lights back up on their house.

The friend didn't know the Merchants had never taken them down.

"When she sent me the message," Laurie said, "I was like, 'No problem. They're still on the house.' So, I just ran outside, turned them on and sent her a message, 'Here you go.'"

Laurie said David and the kids usually take the lights down the first weekend in January.

"We're usually pretty quick to get them down, but this year, we just haven't been able to," she said. "Now, we're glad we weren't able to take them down. I guess God knew we might still need them. He always knows best."