I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about the Christmas season. On the one hand, I love it: the lights, the traditional foods, the excited kids. Most of all, I love attending Christmas Eve services with my family, singing the old familiar Christmas hymns, seeing the sanctuary decked out in evergreen garlands, and hearing the story of the Christ child’s birth.
But on the other hand, I’m with Elvis. Christmas can be blue. In fact, as I get older, I have more and more nostalgic moments for times that are past and people who aren’t with us anymore. My dad, who enjoyed Christmas like a kid, has been gone more than thirty years. Mom collected Santas and loved inviting an eclectic group of friends over for Christmas dinner; she’s been gone a few years, too. I miss the days when my daughter was young and her father and I would take her to visit his warm and jolly extended family; divorce ended that tradition, a loss for me but especially for her. I even miss my little dog, Porter, who was a feisty presence at Christmas last year but won’t be with us this year. You know how it is: you unwrap the ornaments and the memories, and they can bring both laughter and tears.
And while my losses hurt, they aren’t unusual. Most of us have reason to shed a tear during the holidays. We don’t live in a Hallmark movie or a Thomas Kinkade painting, but in a real, fallen world.
How fortunate we are, during sad times, to be able to turn to the comfort of scripture and to reflect on the deeper meaning of Christmas. From the second chapter of Luke: “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” And from Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Is there a Christian alive who doesn’t find comfort in these familiar verses?
In my Christmas stories, I try to include both sides of Christmas. I often start with a character who’s a little sad during the Christmas season, because of past wounds; and I always, always end happily: with romantic love, and with spiritual renewal orchestrated by God.
Leave a comment letting me know what you think about the idea of a blue Christmas… or about Elvis! I’ll gift two random commenters with an e-copy of one of my Christmas books, all of which include a touch of the Christmas blues before the happy ending. You can choose from any of the Christmas books you find on my website.
And P.S.–Yes, that’s me smooching Elvis during a Christmastime visit to Graceland!