In the midst of all of the preparations that are taking place and the rushing around that people will do as well as the normal daily events and work it is sometimes difficult to realize that not everyone is into the festivities and that the song Blue Christmas rings closer to the truth than Jingle Bell Rock. What is it about the Christmas season in particular that increases the blues and depression for countless numbers of people? Some will say that the shorter days and longer nights, colder weather have an impact. Others feel the loss of loved ones keenly. Many are intensely lonely and that somehow magnifies at Christmas when friends are eagerly looking forward to going home for the season or conversely looking forward to family members coming to spend it with them. It is a tough season filled with very mixed emotions.
We know that it is impossible to get far in life without being hurt and feeling pain. The wounds that life gives us can run deep. In order to safeguard and protect ourselves we build walls and resistance to love, become less trusting and isolate ourselves. Then we wonder why we feel sad? Add to that a season of merriment, celebration and gatherings of friends and countless parties and the loneliness and sadness that is felt is magnified –after all everyone else is so happy! That in turn increases the loneliness that we might feel. We are reminded though by our very inclusion in events that it is through friends, faith we can start to feel better and whole once more and with their help we learn to open ourselves up again. We learn to become compassionate and willing to let people be a part of our lives once more. We heal! It does not mean that we have forgotten what has wounded and saddened us it simply means that we are moving forward, making new memories to build on the old ones. In means that new joy can be found in the midst of the sadness that has become a part of our very essence.
The “spirit of this season” brings with it mixed emotions for many people. I would encourage each and every one of us not to not gloss over the pain, loss or loneliness as it is a part of us and makes us uniquely who we are. However, I would encourage each of us to be willing to be open to the new experiences, new memories that can be built and grown and to be open to those who invite us to be a part of and share in the festivities so that a new spirit can begin to grow in us.