Pastor Jim Melvin
I won’t start getting into the Christmas mood until I hear Elvis Presley croon, “I’ll have a blue Christmas without you. I’ll be so blue just thinking about you. Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree won’t be the same, dear, if you’re not here with me.” Elvis had a reason to be blue; for some undisclosed reason (maybe he got dumped) he’s separated from his girlfriend at the most emotional time of year. So, he’ll have a blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas.
Many of us will have a blue Christmas without being separated from the ones we love. We can sink into the emotional depths even when surrounded by loving friends and family. Even though the ground is covered with fluffy white stuff and our houses are decorated with reds and greens, blue is the true color of Christmas. For people who suffer from depression, these common holiday blues can manifest in more serious ways.
The causes of depression can be many and complicated and often require professional treatment including medication. If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from persistent depressive moods, consider harming yourself, isolate yourself, or have difficulty fulfilling life’s normal functions, seek professional help right away. Otherwise, here are some suggestions for expanding your holiday color palette.
First of all, we can adjust our expectations to fit reality. At my house, the landslide of holiday cards and letters has begun. By the end of December, the wicker basket on our kitchen counter designated for these friendly greetings will be filled to overflowing. Letters tell amazing stories of exciting life events and travels of our friends and family, often in rhyme. The faces of the people on the posed family pictures radiate smile after smile after smile. I begin to wonder what’s the matter with my family; we don’t always smile around our house. The events of my life seldom rhyme. Nor do anybody’s. Accept those pictures and letters for what they are, an attempt to spread holiday cheer, not an attempt to make us feel inadequate or defective. Life is not a competition judged on how happy we look in a Christmas picture.
The weeks before Christmas and New Years throw us off of our normal schedules. There are parties and dinners to go to, decorations to put up, shopping to attend to and, for many of us, disruptions in our work schedules. To the extent that it is under our control, it helps to maintain the healthy routines which rule during the rest of the year. Eat and exercise normally, get plenty of sleep, and take time to do regular non-holiday related stuff like reading, watching TV, and keeping up with household chores. If you are religious, be sure to pray and worship regularly. After all it is, as they, the reason for the season.
And how about this, enjoy the blues. It’s okay, within reason, to sit back and wallow in melancholy once in a while. There is something restorative in a little quiet sadness. That’s probably why Elvis’s rendition of “Blue Christmas” has been so endearing and enduring. Life can’t always be lived on the upbeat. And come to think of it, blue is my favorite color. So, suit yourself; but as for me, I’m going to select my Elvis channel on Pandora, sit back, shed a tear or two, and have a blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas. That doesn’t mean that most of my days still can’t be merry and bright.