Call me the holiday hypocrite.
I loudly proclaim my love for Christmas; the tree, the packages, the food, the family.
I try to keep the true meaning of Christmas close to the surface at all times; the star, the stable, the SAVIOUR!
I make a special effort to put money in all the kettles I pass, I gladly give to charity. I’ve even been known to fill a request off an Angel Tree. I cook, I shop, I wrap, I sing. I do all the expected things optimists and extraverts do. But, almost every year, I suffer from a blue streak as wide and thick as I85 in Atlanta on Friday afternoon.
They call it “Seasonal Depression” It is no joke. I have made it no secret that I struggle with depression year round.
It’s a chemical thing, an inherited illness I got from both parents. It is managed with some pretty decent medication and faith that God will not leave me here forever. The seasonal part baffles me. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Yes! I get that, but it’s also the time of year when I find myself crying for ridiculous reasons.
I wonder if I just expect too much out of myself. Maybe I expect too much out of my fellow man too. Apparently, I am not alone on that one. Poor retail workers shuffle to their cars after days of being battered and abused by people who are just mad, not at them exactly, but mad. Maybe it’s the fact they waited too late to find that one thing their kid asked for. It is hard to explain how Santa forgot that special doll or video game, especially when they wrote their letters in July.
It’s hard to figure out just how we’ve turned Christmas into such a big, sometimes ugly, deal.
I have made the point with Christmases past that the reason for the season was a baby born in a shed because that’s the only place his mom and adoptive dad could find for his birth. I can’t even imagine. Mary was only a teenager. Don’t even get me started on the teenagers and preteens in my house. They couldn’t keep a guppy alive, much less carry, deliver and raise the King of kings. I suppose times have changed since Bethlehem.
Anyway, I have hobbled and suffered through the holidays since I was a kid. I really do love the season. I have never been alone or destitute during the holidays. I have always gotten gifts, most years too much to eat and have had many wonderful memorable experiences with my precious family. I am so grateful for all of it. I don’t take anything for granted. It’s just a sadness that seems to permeate my home like burnt popcorn. It can be covered but it just can’t be totally eliminated.
My hilarious kids will be here soon with my precious grandchildren. There is just something about seeing Christmas through the eyes of little children that lightens the heaviness the season can bring. I look forward to holding my three year old and two month old cuddlies and laughing at the antics of my six year old granddaughter and four year old grandson. They bring joy to the whole family. Maybe the teen and preteens will even lighten up and enjoy themselves.
I still anticipate eye rolling at every comment I make but that is really the least of my worries. I am grateful for them too.
My hope for you is peace, joy and true happiness this season. If you are suffering through a “Blue Christmas” know you are loved and not alone. Let’s just be real and care for one another.
Merry Christmas from a holiday hypocrite. Just know I’m doing my best.
Angie Brown is a humorist who loves being a wife, mother and grandmother. She lives in Opelika with her husband of 31 years and four of their seven children.