When I was younger, my church started a tradition called “Blue Christmas”. During the first week or so of December, there would be a special Christmas worship service for anyone for whom Christmas was less than a 100% joyful experience. (Really, isn’t that most of us?)
One lesser-known fact about Kat is that she lost her father at Christmas time. She almost never talks about it, but every year the presence of his absence colors her experience of Christmas. She also is not a huge fan of Christmas because she works in retail and dreads the crowds of stressed-out, angry shoppers determined to out-shop everyone else.
For some, Christmas is a wonderfully happy time filled with anticipation, family, and celebration.
For some, Christmas is pure misery.
For some (I think probably the majority), Christmas is a time of both loss and joy. Maybe we burden ourselves with expectations of providing the “perfect” day for our children, partner/spouse, or family. Especially in times that are economically difficult for many, maybe Christmas means wishing we could provide for our families. Maybe we are separated from family, and an international holiday only reinforces that loss of family. Maybe we can’t stand the enforced socialization of alcohol-laced office “parties” that require fancy dress and fake smiles on what should be our off time. Maybe it is caring for a terminally ill loved one who may not make it through the holiday season.
Maybe, especially as we grow older, Christmas reminds us of loved ones who are no longer with us. I think of my beloved grandmother who taught me to crochet. A friend from high school who, before he was old enough to graduate, decided that life was no longer worth living. A friend’s younger brother who died before graduating from elementary school.
Celebrations and happy times are wonderful, but sometimes watching other people’s celebrations can make it more painful to experience our own loss. I’ve mentioned before that Christmas this year will be a quiet one for me, and instead of feeling sorry for myself I want to focus on celebrating what and who I do have with me. Still, today I would like to honor those for whom Christmas may be a bit difficult. You are not alone, and what you are experiencing is 100% okay.
Today’s Advent Calendar question is: If we were attending a Blue Christmas event today, who or what would be on your mind? If the question is too personal, feel free to substitute this question: What about Christmas do you find difficult?
If nothing about Christmas is difficult for you (lucky you!), then perhaps: Had you ever thought about the holiday season not always being positive?
However, please don’t talk about pet peeves because that is a question for another day. 🙂
P.S. For more on reaching out to someone who is having a difficult time, please read my guest post today at Renee’s blog.