Outside my window, Christmas lights continue to flicker. At the heart of the village’s little round-a-bout is a fountain, water no longer gushing out. It is now decorated by a metal shaped Christmas tree surrounded by illuminated stars made of plastic and lights horizontally swirled all the way up like a sundae cone. Atop the tree isn’t a big star, but a Pokéball, one of the few remains from the previous Halloween decorations as the home association board wanted to stick to the Pokemon – inspired theme while substantially incorporating the gist of Christmas at the same time. Lights are still on surprisingly, at one in the morning, where no cars nor residents will take notice for its beauty at this wee little hour. Its beauty continues to radiate as I watch from a distance.
The *genuine* pleasure of composing this write-up comes with the bittersweet feeling of listening to instrumental jazz music of Christmas. I substantially choose to listen to it. I absolutely love Christmas; it’s my favorite holiday and I always look forward to it even as early as September. It’s just that, at this time of the year, especially with December now in the picture, flashbacks come in rolling: of false hopes, tainted expectations, painful loss and emotional detachments. They all happen during Christmas, weirdly enough. It was the bittersweet feeling of celebrating the Eve worrying of the critical health condition of a loved one, acknowledging the physical absence of the people close to your heart during family photo op’s, the mere acceptance of circumstances you cannot change after the highest of expectations tries to meet you, fails. There are times that I am left staring into these lights that remind me of those bittersweet memories from the past, even from those of what happened just recently in the previous months. Even if the lights fade, I still continue to be captivated by its beauty, every time I catch myself staring.
Christmas appears to shrink in size as I grow – not just in terms of the number of gifts I receive but how I look at Christmas itself. I’d like to think of it as a grown-up Christmas list where I heed for abstract wishes, doing away (okay fine, less) with the ones that require one to empty their pockets or tightening their belts. Surprisingly, Christmas is uniquely different every time despite sticking to the traditions we celebrate annually. It’s at this time where I tend to reflect on most things; hence the thoughts of bittersweet memories commencing.
December last year was my happiest month. Everything happened so quickly that I grew attached to this kind of happiness not knowing it would only last temporarily. Needless to say, I felt it was left out in the open. That certain thing was my only Christmas wish. It was already there yet it was taken away from me.
A year later I look back and realize how happy I was. No doubt, there are times I wish I could be that kind of happy again. But then, I look again at the lights. I now think of what occurred this year. It was yes, a painful 2016 for me, but hey, it wasn’t so bad. These beautiful, flickering lights give me an assurance, a promise, that there is beauty in the dark, even with no one around to witness it. There is still something to be thankful for – and that is what Christmas is all about.
This year, the human sized candy canes made of wire covered in cloth erected all the way down at the front of the homes in my street now lighted. The long alley now appears livelier and brighter despite the dim illumination of the limited number of streetlights that barely even light up a speck in the side street. Christmas may just become a lot sweeter this year. There is definitely something to look forward to.
I head outside for a while and immerse myself in the silence of my surroundings and the lights right before my very eyes. I take photos to remember these moments. These are almost the same decorations I’ve seen for the past years, I don’t think I’ll get tired of marveling it. Instead of reminding myself again of the pain of the past, I look forward to brighter days. That’s the only wish on my grown-up Christmas list. And I think that’s beautiful.