Photo by Caleb Woods
There’s something magical about Christmas trees. When I was a kid, my family used to decorate one in our home. While most of our time was spent hanging tiny trinkets on the branches, the tree was never complete until we crowned it with a star. For me, that star is the real reason for decorating the tree.
I still get awed when I see Christmas trees all lit up. They seem to get brighter and heavier with decorations every year. In truth, I’ve come to realise that my focus has shifted over the years. I no longer give the star on the tree the same amount of attention I used to.
As a Christian, I find this symbolic of my own internal journey. The star on the tree calls to mind the star that led the three wise men to the infant Jesus, reminding me that this boy-child lies at the heart of Christmas. Yet, I find myself distracted by glitter instead of focusing on the star.
Photo by Victor Khong
From a secular perspective, I wonder how many others share a similar experience. Our lives are flooded with shiny options and distractions. So many choices compete for our time and attention but these often do not satisfy. There was a time when I would go online, triggered by promotions in my inbox, and scroll through endless images of clothes and accessories, and make numerous purchases of ‘must-haves’ for the season. Yet the lustre quickly fades; it's just a matter of time before my purchases become another addition to my wardrobe.
Recent changes in my work and life have forced me to re-evaluate my past choices and habits. I've unsubscribed from many online platforms and stores - the triggers no longer appear in my inbox. I'd like to think I'm more prudent and reflective in the way I spend my time and money now. Though it's an internal struggle, I’m trying to let go of the attachments in my life.
With Christmas falling in December, I'm once again taking the opportunity to reflect on the past year and re-centre myself. The star may mean something different for each of us but whatever it is, I hope we can remain focused on it.
What star are you following in your life? What do you want to focus on this Christmas?