Just before Thanksgiving I was talking to my brother and could hear the excitement of the upcoming weekend in his voice. It dawned on me that Thanksgiving and Christmas usually energize me and add a joyful shine to everyday life. Not this year. Everything feels heavy. I don’t care much for festivity or decor. There will be no tree in our house; I’ve told my family that I need the year off from gift-giving.
I think this is the clincher: there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I am sick. Of course, I was diagnosed with depression months ago, and I *know* that I am not well. But I have wished it away so often that every few weeks I think “You should be fine! Just work a little harder and pull yourself together.”
There have been other years when Christmas was shadowed by sadness. Life-altering news and the deaths of family members have come around in Decembers previous. Those times were like living in a house with a permanently darkened room: every day I passed through that cold darkness, but I also walked into other parts of the house where I felt content and entirely myself.
This Christmas I am living in a brown-out house and the furnace is on the fritz. I’ve called the power company, I’ve kicked the furnace, I’ve lit matches and gathered blankets. The whole place is still chilly and dim.
There is surely something to be said for carving away the accoutrements of the holiday and coming down to the bare bones of relying on Jesus, and the confidence that the sadness of this life will someday end and we will be with Him. It also sucks to be sad when everyone else seems to be having a great time.