It’s three o’clock in the afternoon and the sun is going down. The shadows loom long behind me. Tis the season when the sun goes down before it is actually up. Tis the season of night.
I used to be cheerful around the holidays. I used to love the carols, cookies, candles, and the warmth of the season. I used to like decorating. I liked the tree and the lights and the celebration and gift giving.
Now, its mostly darkness. It’s mostly night.
I get why this season has the most suicides. There is something about intense jubilee and celebration over presents and a fat man in a red suit in the midst of a dark, troubled world that seems wrong.
But without darkness, what good would the light be?
I am so grateful to God. He has been so good to me, yet I can’t shake the darkness. I can’t shake the night.
Part of the difficulty of the season for many people is reconciling family with joy around Christmas. So many movies and commercials show joyful and magical families and traditions. Take for instance the inevitable Christmas Hallmark movie. It would be wonderful if everyone’s life was filled with a warm loving family, a passionate and fulfilling romantic relationship, and wonderful friends and the perfect job.
However, not everyone’s story has a happy ending . . . or a happy beginning, or a happy middle.
And it struck me. What about people who did not or do not enjoy a warm family and loving relationships? Their wounds are opened afresh in the name of Christmas. What they did not or do not have is dangled in front of them. And they are wounded all over again.
Who doesn’t long for peace on earth? Who doesn’t long for unity in their family? We all do. However, some people know they will never have it. How does one reconcile that?
Unity and peace on this earth are a luxury not a guarantee.
Even Charlie Brown in A Charlie Brown Christmas was depressed at Christmas time.
“I just don’t understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I’m still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed.” ~Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Christmas
I, and many others, sympathize with good old Chuck.
I am glad that Christmas is over. I always look forward to the holidays being over. Maybe that makes me a negative person. But, I know I’m not alone.
We are told that we should be happy because of Christmas.
I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus, Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel. ~Charlie Brown
However, being depressed at Christmas might mean that you are more in tune with the reality of the world than those who are happy. And it might mean, that you see how we have turned Christmas into something that has nothing to do with Jesus. And that should make us sad. There is such a thing as Godly sorrow.
Jesus came into a dark world. A world of night.
He left the glory, beauty and light of Heaven and the love of His Father to save our sorry souls. He came to a place of darkness and perpetual night for us. Wow! It’s amazing! Would I have done the same thing? Probably not.
If the holidays are difficult for you, I’m right there with you. Your family might not see your hurt, but God does. And He blesses you.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:3-5