December Melancholy

There are a lot of reasons for joy in December. We commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, who was sent for our redemption. This church holy day has kind of taken on a life of its own, and I see comments all the time about it often hardly seems like that holy day has any meaning in the midst of it.

The “image” of what Christmas “should be”, of presents and laughter, family and good food, is not necessarily a bad thing either, but for a lot of people, it can be jarring, especially if one gets to feeling lost or left behind in all of it.

Also for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, December is the month of the shortest days of the year, of cold, of darkness, and of death. Many times, there is a distinct feeling of loneliness, often exacerbated by the hustle and bustle of others.

There are some scientific reasons for this, Seasonal Affective Disorder being one of them. Many times, it’s more difficult to pin down. I know I dislike being fed the idea that December is a time when I *should* be happy or excited or what have you.

I also think it’s interesting that even with the number of “happy” Christmas songs and carols, there are a lot which are much more melancholy, and I have kind of been drawn toward those even as a kid. Give me “Christmas Dinner” by Peter, Paul, and Mary any day over Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime“, which makes me want to shoot the radio every time I hear it (and which, thankfully, has not been in heavy rotation on my local “Christmas station” this year).

I guess when it comes to December melancholy, I try to ride the line between feeling it but not falling into despair, to not try to ignore Christmas, but let it bring its true joy come forth from within, rather than the forced “happy, happy, happy” that would be sold a person. I believe that this is a reasonable place to be, especially during difficult or transitional times, but sometimes “just because”.

dore canto 31 white rose

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2 thoughts on “December Melancholy

    1. I think “Christmas Dinner” was originally on the “Peter, Paul, and Mommy” album. My dad made a tape that included that album that got played at the hospital when I was born. When I was about 10, and we had a vehicle that had a working tape player, that tape got dug out and it got played a lot. Normally my parents did not want to listen to Christmas music outside of December, but it was the one Christmas song that kind of snuck through. 🙂 I’m glad you like it!

      It seems like your trip to CS is going well – I don’t know very much about the Orthodox churches out there, but I wish you and your family a most joyous feast! 🙂


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