Saturday, December 23, 2006

Blue Christmas, a different spin on the song.

"I'll have a blue Christmas without you,
I'll be so blue thinking about you,
You'll be doing alright with your Christmas of white
but I'll have a bluebluee Christmas."
-Johnny Cash

Firstly, I have to say, that when I Googled the words to this familiar Christmas song, I had no idea that Johnny Cash was the one who penned the words. Makes sense to me now why he wore black. But then he confessed while wearing a guitar, "I don't play this thing, but it looks good on me."

Lost love, a love that never was, unexplainable depression, stressful jobs, uncaring and rude fellow travelers on the journey, loss of a job or job insecurity, family problems, (I hate the word dysfunctions,) lack of family, loneliness, health concerns, a hungry soul or a simply starving inner feeling, death and grief, watching someone waste away, watching someone waste their life or potential, those who have family or friends fighting on fields of battle, people coping with abuses. This is only a partial list, no doubt in my mind. A list of ingredients that can provide for a Blue Christmas.

The Indianapolis Star carried a story December 21st about an east coast church which was only one of the many churches who are having Blue Christmas services. The notion is that many people for one of the reasons listed above, or other reasons, may not be emotionally able to "celebrate" Christmas. I tip my hat to these churches as they recognize a very special need in the church, or rather the life of their parishioners.

The list above isn't about the people who are generally remembered at Christmas. So many churches and service organizations use Christmas as a special time to feed, clothe and provide for those in need. These needs are obvious to our senChristianristan responsibility mostly during the Christmas season, even though they exist all year. Jesus even reminds us in scripture that the poor will always be with us.

The list above points more to the "poor in spirit" that Jesus spoke of in the Sermon on the Mount, but even being poor in spirit is a real poverty. We tend to be quick to pray for those who have appetites but no food. But when do we pray for those who have food, but no appetites?

I'll be the first to say that Johnny Cash's poignant words were surely not written as a Christmas Hymn, but certainly it is a tune about the first situation on my list; a lost love. The list by the way, was listed in no particular order.

Churches having services for people who cringe at the term Merry Christmas is a true blessing for many. For them there is no merry Christmas, no happy holidays being celebrated, no matter how hard they may try, the feeling just isn't there. Not having these feelings of merry and happy only adds to the sense that it is a Blue Christmas. I don't think any of these many will argue that the reason for the season is a joyous one, but one that they are having a hard time being a part of since the joy just doesn't seem to be felt like they might wish it would be or the way that it was in the past.

I'm sorry Frank Boles of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, I'm only going to use the part of your Indianapolis Star interview quote that serves my point best, but I feel confident that you would understand. Frank said, "...Worship is the central way that we all come together." Be that a worship filled with majestic organ, strings, pounding timpani and children's choirs shouting at the tops of their little lungs. Or maybe it's the warm fuzzy feeling that some people get when they sing Silent Night while they wave those candles around and sling wax down the back of their fellow worshipers new sports coat or their old sweaters for that matter, I've learned it best to wear fire fighter's gear to church on Christmas Eve. These things that make so many happy and nostalgic are the very things that add to the discomfort of those having a blue Christmas. Yet it remains that worship is the central way that we all come together.

For me, the guy with a love that never was, who has bouts with depression and this year toss grief into the mix, I don't want or need the drastic tempo changes in the traditional Christmas Eve service, the one that goes from Silent night to Joy to the World in sixty seconds or less. I truly desire the , "Still, Still, Still." the quiet gathering of family all offering to one another a shared history. I want to celebrate with them for as long as they are with me. Then I hope that God will grant my grown up Christmas wish, the wish for a significant person to share my life with, be it in time for New Year's Eve when the kiss is supposed to come at midnight or when I stand at the racks of Valentine's Day cards and wish.

It isn't just the Christmases that are blue.


Anonymous UNK said...

I wasn't aware of the words as those of Johnny Cash. You never cease to amaze me with your thoughts wrote down on paper. I always enjoy what I read and hope you are always there to share them with me. Love UNK

4:28 PM  
Anonymous april said...

You are not alone brother. Sometimes I wish I could trade places with you. I think it is worse to have someone sitting right beside you and feel alone in the room than to actually be alone.

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Blogger Don Jerome said...

No we aren't alone April. We are a kindred spirit. And you are right, it's better to be alone than to wish you were.

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