We had a nice day and we were driving home as the sun was setting. I was noticing the colorful light displays on houses and businesses as we drove. We were passing through Grand Rapids when I saw a really big light display, and on a whim, we suddenly got off the highway to check it out.
It turned out to be the biggest light display I’ve ever seen. It snakes through the parking lot and grounds of a minor league baseball park and takes nearly an hour to explore. We were told that a thousand cars were expected to visit that evening. There were whimsical displays of Santa and elves in endless scenes: in an airplane; going bowling; on a giant dinosaur. The experience was fun and frivolous. We laughed and oohed and aahed. We enjoyed the moment.
Other parts of the day had been planned, but this was totally spontaneous, and I think that made it all the more fun. I gave myself permission to be silly. The little boy within me got to enjoy the experience without a judgmental voice telling me not to waste my time and money on something so trivial and fleeting.
This experience of joy and wonder, connecting me to my childhood traditions, will remain a fond memory of this season. I’m glad that I took time to spend a day with my partner, and that we were open to a spontaneous moment that neither of us expected. Sometimes I chase after joyful experiences, but the most treasured ones are the ones that just happen.
Spirit of life and love, spirit of Christmas and other holidays that bring joy to children, be here now.
Blessed spirit, remind us to be open to joy. Remind us that each of us has a child within that needs to feel loved and safe, that yearns for joy and laughter. May we find ways to be in touch with our inner child. May we have trusted companions to share our laughter. May we know that joy and fun are part of life, not something we do only after perfectly finishing every task on our list.
May all children, and all people on the earth, know joy and laughter—celebrating Christmas, celebrating Diwali, or experiencing a regular day on earth in this blessed human lifetime that we all share.
May it be so.