Thursday, December 11, 2008

Merry yet Melancholy

Received an email the other day, from an old friend I love dearly, demanding that we put Christ back in Christmas. It was one of those forwards, with all kinds of colors and bold lettering and lots of pictures of CHRISTmas trees. It just makes me weary to contemplate this kind of email, so I just deleted it without responding.

But it does cause me pause to ponder: why is it so important that we continually try to push our truth onto someone else? Why is it so difficult for us to consider how absolutely real someone else's truth is to them? Why is it that if we cannot relate to someone else's circumstances, we dismiss them as trivial or unfounded or unimportant. I remember recently mentioning to a friend that I had some concerns about the security of my job, and she dismissively responded with a "Oh, you'll be fine." This kind of comment didn't give my concern any validation, and left me feeling empty and brushed aside.

I don't even want to get into the debate that the holidays always seems to bring about, that we've become too PC, too commercial, etc. As with every aspect of our lives, the holidays mean different things to different people, and undoubtedly bring with them a mixed bag of emotions. This is all very real. Yes, it can be a very joyous season. But it can also be a time of anxiety, stress, sadness, and loneliness.

It is certainly not the time to be pushing our agenda or our truth onto others. So yes, let's go out and be merry with each other. But let's also be gentle and aware of those around us who might be suffering. The suffering is a necessary part of life, but it can be hell to go through at the time. Reach out, squeeze a hand, pat a shoulder, offer an ear, or give a hug. Lower the expectations on yourself and those around you as you make your way through the next few weeks. Peace to you and yours as we move into the new year.


  1. Yes! Less expectation, more wonder. Wonder at the lights. Wonder at the beautiful downtown street at night. Wonder at the warm fire and the friends dropping by to say hello. Wonder at the wine and food and company, or the soft blanket and the great movie on t.v. And sleep...because I don't think people sleep enough in the winter. We should listen to our bodies, don't rush, work with the seasons. I believe that, though I don't live it as much as I once did. But I could...I just might.

  2. We push our truth on others because it is so real to us that we cannot understand it not being real for others. I have been on both sides of this 'fence' and it is a strange thing. Because one experiences truth and joy in their faith, they believe that all of must be true, and for all others. Trust me, they are feeling just as threatened at times as the rest of us--it is a common human experience. But I now believe that we all discover truth in our own ways. It is the same truth, just packaged in different language. When we speak the language of love, we can overcome the barriers between us. Being gentle is a very good place to start.

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