December 15, 2010

Blue Christmas - Tracy Krauss

I had to stop and take stock the other day as I read a post about the melancholy side of Christmas written by a fellow Christian. I understand that not everyone finds the season 'the most wonderful time of the year', but I was surprised at the depth of despair I sensed beneath the surface.  For most people, Christmas can be a time full of stress - the busyness of preparations, added financial strain on an already stretched budget, and a social calendar that is bulging at the seams. But for many others, it is a poignent reminder of loneliness - when so many are bustling about from event to event, there are those that have nowhere to go and no one to share it with. Since so much of Christmas is wrapped up in fond remembrances, it can be painful for those that have lost loved ones.

A friend of mine who happens to be an Anglican Vicar, used to hold a 'Blue Christmas' evening during the holidays. She understood that there are many folks who find the holiday season difficult and who cringe while the rest of us are going about our merry way. I never attended - I'm an unabashed lover of the season in all its tinseled glory - but she tells me it serves a need for those who are feeling blue and need a place to share those feelings without being labeled 'Grinch'. Besides an uplifting service, some singing and a sharing time, they also ate a turkey dinner together.

Upon reflection, I am so very grateful that I have fond memories of Christmas. I'm grateful for family, and friends and a church fellowship with whom I can share. I am grateful for financial security that allows me to cook a turkey and all the trimmings, buy a few gifts and still have enough to share with the local food bank and other charitable organizations. Even in our more 'lean' years, the warmth and laughter of the holidays made each one special in its own way. I can't actually recall every gift I've ever been given, but I certainly remember the friendly rivalry around a game of canasta, or the excitement of my children as they woke us early in the morning to check their stockings. These are the kinds of traditions that stick with you and that make Christmas worth looking forward to. (By the way, we've maintained a strange tradtion in our family that involves the children lining up in order of age - oldest to youngest - before checking their stockings on Christmas morning. We did this in my family as a child and continued to do it with our kids. It became quite humorous a couple of years ago with the addition of sons-in-law now that two of my daughters are married. My girls still wanted to 'line up', but the new members of the family wouldn't cooperate. We had to compromise by entering the living room together!) 

In any case, past all the pretence and the commercialism is the real truth of why we celebrate - JESUS. And for those of us that are believers, that should be enough.


  1. Thanks for raising this issue, more people than we like to think dread Christmas.

    We have two single friends, neither have any approachable family. Both find Christmas their worst time of year. One frankly says: "I wish I could go to sleep on December 15 and wake up in the New Year.

    Including a lonely person in our Christmas celebrations is a welcome act of compassion, as long as they do not feel like an interloper.

  2. So true, Bryan. We have done that, too (included someone in our Christmas celebration that had nowhere to go) and it is a real blessing for them and us.

  3. Tracy, I was just saying in Bryan's posting that I've always LOVED Christmas...

    But I also empathize and feel for those who find it hard to deal with this time of year. There's is such an almost unrealistic expectation of Christmas... as if one day in the year can make up for the heartaches and relational messes of the rest of it.

    I sometimes wish I could encourage people to relax and not try to make it what it cannot be.... Hallmark Card perfect. Just to allow grace to flow to themselves as well as to others...

    So I am glad to hear of that Anglican Vicar who gives room for people to experience Christmas in a less exuberant environment... allow them to be who they are at that moment without shame.

    So thanks Tracy for another look at this 'most wonderful time of the year'.............

  4. I have made it my practice for the last 18 Christmases to seek out those who don't have family or who are estranged from their families and who might need the encouragement of spending Christmas with pleasant company. My parents died in 1991, my dad in September of that year and my mother just three days before Christmas. In facing that emptiness, I realized that there were others for whom Christmas was much more pain than pleasure.

    Since I made that decision to gather others together on Christmas Day to be "family" with me, I have had a lot of absolutely wonderful Christmases. It really is a time to share, just as God shared his Son by sending him to take on "skin" for us.

  5. This is so true, Lynda. Christmas is a time for sharing - especially that one thing we value the most - our time.


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