Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Overcoming the Post-Christmas Blues

'Twas the day after Christmas 
and all through the house,
Mom was depressed and Dad felt like a louse.
The children were listless; 
they were having no fun.
'Cause Christmas was splendid 
but now it was done.

Sound familiar?  If so, then you're facing that common and most perennial of problems: the dreaded "post-holiday blues."  But hey; don't panic and don't despair. There are cures available.

Number one cure? Some post-holiday sadness is inevitable as in the case where loved ones who returned for Christmas have now had to fly back to Padukah, or wherever.  The tears in your eyes, which arise from looking at your empty dining room, are natural. There's not much for it except to be patient and to be grateful for the time you did have. Indeed, thanksgiving is a key part of this cure. Let the Lord know your appreciation for the blessing that family and friends have been in your life.  Enjoy the memories and look forward to God's using you to be a blessing to them in the future. Pray for peace in your soul; find comfort in the Scriptures and in Christian service; and resolve to do what you can to keep in frequent contact with those who are now absent from your side.

Cure number two is to celebrate all 12 Days of Christmas. In fact, Claire and I throw in yet another day in our celebration -- Epiphany. It is on that night that we host our last, and often our most significant, Christmas party. After work on the evenings of the 12 Days, we continue to have parties, play Christmas music and movies, write cards and letters, and make our "Santa runs" in which portions of Claire's cookies and my sausage and cornbread dressing show up in friends' homes all over town. It's great fun. It's a great way to make the Christmas season more about relationships than about stuff. And it's a terrific defense against post-holiday blues.

Cure number three, however, deals more specifically with those for whom Christmas wasn't all they had hoped for. In these cases, post-holiday blues are more a result of dashed hopes and/or misplaced affections.  The cure in this case centers on a fresh discovery of the full meaning of Christmas itself. Remember your Dickens? Getting on with the "business of mankind" through kindness, loyalty, and hope was the way the converted Ebenezer Scrooge learned to keep Christmas all year long. No post-holiday blues for him. Even better examples are the magi who were thrilled over a living King -- a holy Person, not a "holy day." You and I can thus overcome the post-holiday blues by engaging in the great quest those wise men did.  They recognized that it's not Christmas day that's most important, but rather one's Christmas duty.

So, please accept from Claire and me our heartiest wishes for a very merry and productive Christmas Day Three...and all those following.