An illusion is defined as "an erroneous perception of reality." Magicians depend on it to trick their audiences. But some illusions can be fatal. If I chase a mirage in the desert, thinking it's water, I could die of thirst.
In the opening game of the 2001 football season, a mistake by the University of Colorado cost the team a chance to play for the national championship. When coach Gary Barnett was asked about it, he said, "We don't think about it. I learned a long time ago: Don't trip on something behind you." Barnett was busy recruiting new players and preparing for a holiday bowl game and had no time to dwell on the past.
We all have some regrets about the past and try to forget our sins and mistakes. We feel a lot like the Peanuts comic strip character Linus, who said, "Maybe we should think only about today." Charlie Brown disagreed, "No, that's giving up. I'm still hoping yesterday will get better."
In some ancient kingdoms, a king who wanted to mark or secure a document with his seal used his signet ring. He pressed it into softened wax and allowed it to harden into an unbroken seal that bore the mark of his ring. The signet ring represented the honor, authority, and personal guarantee of the king, so it was highly valued.
During a December visit to New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, I paused to admire the magnificent Christmas tree. It was covered with angels and surrounded at its base by an elaborate 18th-century nativity scene. Nearly 200 figures, including shepherds, the Magi, and a crowd of townspeople, looked in anticipation toward the manger or gazed up in awe at the angels.