Christmas Eve leading into Christmas Day is a time I have found, in recent years, to be particularly challenging. There is something about Christmas that brings me up sharply and makes me notice any difference between how life is and how I think it should be.
In the run-up to Christmas this year, the Dickens story ‘A Christmas Carol’ came unexpectedly to mind. The miser, Scrooge, is haunted by the ghost of Christmas past: memories and realisation of how things could have been different.
This set me thinking. It is so easy to get trapped in ‘Christmas Past’ with seemingly idyllic (but perhaps rose-tinted) memories of how Christmas used to be. Or to get caught up in ‘Christmas Future’, worries about how we want Christmas to be.
Scrooge’s solution was to live ‘Christmas Present’. And, guess what – his Christmas was completely different to how he had imagined it would be.
So this Christmas Eve, every time I have been aware of expectations of how I think things should be, I have acknowledged my thoughts and brought myself gently back into the present moment and how things actually are right now. I’ve noticed lots of special moments that I might otherwise have missed.