You may recognize this post as a “rerun” of years’ past, but it bears an important reminder that can be easily looked over.
We’re edging closer and closer to the Winter Solstice, the shortest and darkest day of the year.
As a stark contrast to the holiday season, it can exacerbate hidden internal sadness in ourselves, and in those around us.
For example, I love Christmas music. But not just any old tune. I prefer minor keys, obscure pieces, and bleak moods that reflect peace and/or sadness.
“God Rest Ye Merry” is a good one, as is “‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime.” There’s also a lot of good stuff in the French, Celtic, and British choir traditions that are haunting.
Two favorite Christmas music albums are “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “If on a Winter’s Night”.
The latter comes from Sting, who hits on a major theme of this time of year in the liner notes:
…I have an ambivalent attitude towards the celebration of Christmas. For many, it is a period of intense loneliness and alienation… Winter is a time of darkness and introspection… [and] the gravitational pull of home that Christmas exerts on the traveller.
Walking amid the snows of Winter, or sitting entranced in a darkened room gazing at the firelight, usually evokes in me a mood of reflection, a mood that can be at times philosophical, at other wildly irrational; I find myself haunted by memories.
This can be a joyful and jolly time of year. There are so many lights and happy music and gatherings.
But many folks are like Sting —
haunted by memories of sadness, exacerbated by short dark days contrasted with the constant flaunting of joy.
Enjoy the season – the lights, music, gatherings, festivities – but please stay sensitive.
And allow yourself to feel the melancholy, too. That can add to the beauty of the season.