by Kenneth Justice
~ “Christmas is just around the corner and some days I feel like God is making me into an atheist” said my friend at coffee last week. My friend was lamenting the commercialization of the holiday and the way in which holidays in the West sometimes lose their luster amidst all the fanfare of money, money, and money. I suspect that quite a few of us feel like Charlie Brown when the holidays come around,
“I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel. I just don’t understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards, and decorating trees and all that, but I’m still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed”
Statistically, a LOT Of people get depressed during the holidays. Whether it is because their loved ones died and are no longer with them, whether it is because they are simply lonely and not close to anyone, or for a variety of reasons, the holidays tend to lead a lot of people to greater depths of sadness.
I have to confess, as much as I love Christmas Eve mass and all the other trimmings around the holiday, I tend to get a little bit sad myself. The older I get the more attention I give to the meaning of life. My father and two closest uncles all died within the last six years and every time a loved one dies it makes me realize how frail our lives are……we’re only but a breath away from the end of this life.
I can relate to my friend at coffee, sometimes life doesn’t make any sense, sometimes it seems like god is trying to make me into an atheist.
Whether it is all the craziness going on in the Middle East, the child slaves in the Ivory Coast, the Ebola epidemic in Africa, the hostages in Australia, or fill-in-the-blank; there is so much misery around the world and more often than not Western Society masks itself with superficial nonsense so we don’t have to pay much attention to all of the sadness around the world.
I realize we can’t live every moment in constant mourning over the unhappiness that is occurring around the globe, but I’m reminded that Jesus when he walked this earth was referred to as “the man of sorrows”. I suspect as much as he tried to enjoy the feasts and holidays that occurred in his day, it was probably difficult for him to forget all of the hurting people around the world.
Somehow we have to find a balance between celebrating the joy of a holiday, while at the same time not losing perspective of the things that matter most.
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning,
Categories: Culture & Society