I love Christmas lights. I'm not entirely sure of the reason but maybe it has to do with happy times as a child when all Christmas memories were backlit by large red and green bulbs. This year I asked my friends if everyone wanted to go see a light display by the harbour. The pictures on the web were really nice and it was closer than driving to Niagara Falls.
As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, I was hit with disappointment. Half of the lights were either turned off or removed and the half that remained were really lame. One minute was sufficient to see the entire display but we gamely walked the cold, dark route by the water before heading off for hot chocolate.
So many things at this time of year are about anticipation and often the result is less than expected. You plan parties, gifts, special events and inevitably something gets broken or someone is sick. Then the dog takes off with the new sweater and the cat drinks out of the punchbowl. You have visions of Clark Griswold's squirrel, or Ralphie's father's new lamp that gets 'accidentally' broken.
What's the answer? Do we lower our expectations or do we resolve to live a life of disappointment? What would happen if we just lived in the moment? This year, it occured to me that the best part of Christmas is the time before the actual day. The pageants, the get togethers, even the shopping. I tried to savour each day without trying to imagine what might happen on the 25th. It made for a really nice December.
Some of us have things in our lives that cause us worry and anxiety when we plan for a celebration or family event. You arrive at the event already negative and upset and that makes things even worse. How much better it would be not to worry since it doesn't affect the outcome.
I don't always live in the moment, but it's a good lesson to learn right at the brink of a new year and a new decade. It's right and proper to plan ahead for the future, to be happy and excited about good things that may come. But we need to live like we only have today.