One of my favorite secular “Christmas seasonal” songs is by Elvis Presley, “Blue Christmas.” It brings back memories from many decades of my life.
It’s easy to be side tracked with family gatherings, anticipation of presents, fun parties, and maybe even church activities. We can sing “Joy to the World” with hearty voices. We can sing part-harmony to “Away in the manger.” We can reflectively sing “Silent Night.”
But not everyone can. Please, note that I am not disparaging any of that. I, too, have experienced some of that on occasion. Those are all wonderful. The focus today is on another reality of a “blue Christmas.”
For some people, this time of year is anything but those things. Rather than joyful singing, presents, and snug family activities, it is a time of slide into depression. The darkness can creep silently into lives. The interaction with people brings a sadness that is often hard to describe.
For those of us who battle depression, we don’t want this. We want something light, happy, satisfying. But it doesn’t always happen. What have I done that is bringing this back? And why now? And we are left with an uneasy sense that even the questions makes us more susceptible to depression.
What to do for those who are blue?
I don’t have all the answers. If I did, I would want every person who has or is struggling with depression to take the “super pill.”
But I encourage you to a life of compassion for those who are struggling. If someone seems withdrawn, not open for “holiday spirit,” it may not be a grinch or scrooge, but a person battling the unseen enemy of depression. Extend them the benefit of the doubt. Help when you can. But try not to be offended if it is not accepted.
I guess I am asking for each of us to live the Christian life of being a servant to others. Especially a servant to those struggling. You might be one hand, one smile, one listening ear that is desperately need. No one may ask, no one may open himself or herself for that gesture of love and compassion. But it may be the lifeline needed for exactly this time of year.
For those battling the unseen, I have found over the years some help in the Lament Psalms, yes, especially at Christmas time. For example, Psalm 71: 1-3 (GW)
I have taken refuge in you, O LORD.
Never let me be put to shame.
Rescue me and free me because of your righteousness.
Turn your ear toward me, and save me.
Be a rock on which I may live,
a place where I may always go.
You gave the order to save me!
Indeed, you are my rock and my fortress.
May this be our hope, our comfort, whether it is a White Christmas or a Blue Christmas or any other color.