Saturday, December 27, 2008

After Christmas Blues

We hear a lot of talk during the Christmas season about depression. With all the advertised joy many folk, going through a hard time wonder what is wrong with them. There's nothing particularly wrong with them. Life has just been lousy and they don't feel much like celebrating.

We don't hear much talk about the after Christmas blues. Tomorrow my kids leave for Philadelphia and Atlanta. The old house has shaken for days with laughter, movement, constant eating and catching up. Tomorrow the house will be just quiet. We will look around and see that the decorations are already beginning to sag. There will be some left-overs in the fridge--but we are just tired of Christmas food. In a day or two we will begin the hard task of taking all the Christmas decorations down and getting back to what we call normal.

And we'll miss the kids and even their dog. We will miss the stairs shaking as the teenagers came and went. We will miss that wonderful feeling of having everyone under the same roof. There is a comfort in that. It doesn't happen very often these days. We are all too busy and too scattered.

Christmas Eve I served Communion in the church where I work. It was a come and go affair. In the sanctuary only lit by candles and a tall Chrismon tree people came to the altar. "What shall we pray for?" I asked. And after we prayed for family members, for health, for people they loved, for the war and many things, I held out the bread and the cup and said: "Remember." But in between their coming I sat there in the darkness. I don't do this very often. Just sit in the silence. And something good happened there. I remembered faces of so many people I love. I thought of all those who have come through a hard time and made it. Like a rosary, I thought of blessing after blessing that have come undeservedly to me this year. I hope that I can save those memories for the months to come.

W.H. Auden wrote a poem called "The Time Being." Toward the end of that long poem he wrote:
"Remembering the stable where for once in our lives
Everything became a You and nothing was an It."

So we take down the decorations and pack away all the vestiges of Christmas. Yet we can all hold on to some personal vision or promise when the light came into a very troubled world and the darkness has never been able to put it out. Even after all these years.

1 comment:

  1. I've been a part of Christmas services for those who are having a hard time- a "Blue Christmas" service or "Longest Night" service for the winter solstice. Sometimes I think there’s too much shiny tinsel and too many blinking lights in my Christmas- it distracts me from cultivating the eyes of a shepherd who can find the star in the darkest of nights.
    Roger, this church is not the same without you…