It is what it is: Merry Christmas and may the Force be with you

You could say I’m a little excited about the new Star Wars movie. In fact, you might say I feel like I could take on the whole Empire myself.

For those who have been hiding under a rock on the planet farthest from the bright center of the universe, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is set for release on Dec. 18. And yes, we’ve already reserved our tickets.

Now, I’m not the biggest Star Wars geek out there. It was fun to take the kids to the prequels, but my favorites are the first two — by which I mean the movies now known as Episodes IV and V.

I have to leave it to other family members to tell me in what shipyard the Millennium Falcon was constructed, but I can tell you it’s the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs. And last month was the first time in 30-plus years that I asked for a Star Wars toy for my birthday. The remote control Millennium Falcon drone I got is the second Falcon toy I’ve owned — I got my first Millennium Falcon back in the 1980s, and was dismayed when a few years ago, I asked if any of those toys were around for my kids to play with, and learned that they had been donated for a church rummage sale.

Of course, our house is still filled with lots of Star Wars toys that belong to my kids. We thinned out some of them as the kids have gotten older, but they have held on to some — my son’s Lego Death Star, for one — and there are a few that I might’ve pulled out of the give-away pile and stashed in my tool cabinet because I just couldn’t bear to see them go.

And to celebrate the season, there’s a Darth Vader with a Santa Claus hat decorating our front yard.

My memory may be a little bit fuzzy on this, but my first exposure to Star Wars came a long time ago in what feels like a galaxy far, far away — a rainy day during a family summer vacation. We were renting a cottage on a lake in Maine, and went into town to see “The Empire Strikes Back.” I would’ve been 6 at the time, and I remember being terrified. After all, the opening scenes are of the hero getting attacked by a monster — pretty scary stuff. In fact, the whole movie is a pretty dark introduction to the series.

But I also remember going home afterward and trying to move everything and anything using the Force. I did my best to follow Yoda’s advice, trying to focus. I tried to feel the Force around me, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere.

While I never succeeded in moving anything, and as it turns out, Jedi knight isn’t a legitimate career choice in this galaxy, over the years, I’ve certainly found Yoda’s advice to be as good as anyone’s.

For example, success in any endeavor takes the deepest commitment and a most serious mind. You have to live your life with your mind in the present — not always looking away to the future. If you’re going to attempt something, put yourself in it wholeheartedly. Do or do not; there is no try.

When you’re struggling with difficult situations, clear your mind — you will make your best decisions when you’re calm and at peace.

And understanding that there’s an interconnectedness among all living things, an energy that surrounds us and binds us — that’s a positive message no matter what the season.

About the only place I start to differ with Yoda’s advice is when it comes to craving adventure and excitement. While those things aren’t good for aspiring Jedi knights, they are perfectly appropriate for moviegoers, and I’m plenty excited for a new Star Wars adventure.

So until then, may the Force be with you.

Reach Clarion editor Will Morrow at

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