We’re just a few days past the Winter Solstice, the shortest darkest day of the year. A contrast to the holiday season, it can exacerbate hidden internal sadness in those around us.
I love Christmas music. But not all of it at the same level of love. 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.” Lots of good stuff in the French tradition.
My 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; so many lights and happy music and gatherings. But many folks are like Sting; haunted by memories of sadness exacerbated by the short dark days and the contrast with the 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.
Happy New Year.