If You Feel Sad on Christmas You’re Doing Just Fine
hristmas can be a strange time to a lot of people, and this is sad. People work a lot and plan to relax at the end of the year. They hope that when Christmas arrive there will be bundles of joy, but things don’t always turn out that way. Even though expectations run high, some of us will end up depressed.
The great contradiction of Christmas is that it is difficult to relax and feel joyous when there is so much work to do in order to feel relaxed and joyous. There is shopping, loads of work and chores, annoying super high doses of idiotic Christmas music, and plenty of grumpy people. The more you try to escape, the worse it gets.
People are stuck in a catch 22 – the more irritated they feel, the more irritated they become because you’re supposed to be jolly and happy. People feel guilty thinking they are failing the Christmas spirit, whatever that is. At the end of the day sadness and melancholy sets in and people get disappointed. There is actually an opportunity in all of this.
If you feel funny at Christmas, you’re on the right track. The real joy of season is getting in touch with your sadness and melancholy; they should not be driven away but tasted in all its rawness. If you don’t feel sad at the beginning of Christmas don’t worry, you’ll feel sad at the end. Our irritations at Christmas also reflect our list of contradictions.
These contradictions comes from the pagan vs. religious concepts we are inundated at Christmas. We indulge in pagan pleasure seeking rituals; but at the same time think we should somehow be in a spiritual mode filled with ideals of being frugal, compassionate, and tolerant.
Christmas teachings tell us to be generous but we are usually seeking what’s in for us. Christ teachings tell us to be spiritual but we indulge in the biggest materialistic extravaganza of the year – no wonder there’s conflict. People also feel frustrated because they want to accomplish in one day what they fail to do all year round.
There is a longing to be nice to others and that can be frustrating because if you haven’t been nice to anyone all year, it is difficult to just turn out nice from one day to the other. There is a sense of going back to community, something we haven’t done in a long time and now we fell stressed by having to catch up to everyone and that whole feeling. There is also the realization we’ve been more alone than we realized or wanted.
We spend too much time working and being up-tight and there is no way we can be cool and high by December 25th, we need more time but Christmas also take our time as we prepare for Christmas. Everyone tell us to be happy – Bah Humbug!.
Media plays the mysteries of Christmas through the movies and songs. But the simple demand that “we need to be joyous at a certain moment” make us more miserable. It feels like…if we have to do one more chore to be happy, I’ll snap.
Depression sets in.
Its sad to see people getting depressed at Christmas. Some people are alone and somehow at Christmas it all becomes more visible as they realize they haven’t’ had any fun all year.
But this might be the most powerful message Christmas spirituality bring us. Unfortunately if we don’t realize our sadness and our losses we feel just depressed, but if we look at our lives with acceptance we’ll feel the gratitude for what we have and the sadness is just this feeling of being alive and being human. Everyone is thinking about that in some way; it’s just there but serves no purpose.
This is perhaps why Americans watch It’s a Wonderful Life (the 1946 movie) over and over every Christmas and it always brings a tear of joy to everyone. In a certain way everyone is trying to taste the sadness but it all gets occluded by the usual Christmas irritations and false pretensions of a Disney movie joy.
When the angel rescues George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) from his death in the frozen river we are all reminded that our life is good just as it is and we make a difference by just being ourselves, and simply being there for others. There is a sad melancholy to our life and its OK if you just taste it and leave it at that.
We are all in this same life feeling the same things. Christmas could make us realize there is a pause and we can make a balance of our lives. This could be good thing, we don’t need to waste it being afraid of feeling sad.
We make a balance of our life and are not happy with what we find because we think it should be more like happy ending Christmas story. We realize we are getting older. We feel sad because we see the children and we realize our childhood has passed. we see our own children growing older and realize we are no longer in their lives as we once were.
We see our relatives just as they are with all their flaws. We also see that some of them are no longer with us. All of this brings us a heart of sadness but if we are not afraid to taste it, it will bring joy. This joy is not a material joy but a very deep and humane one that let us know how life is fragile and impermanent and every moment counts. Merry Christmas.
Image credit: Ryan Hyde