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The Darkness of Christmas

The weather outside is frightful
but you'd better not pout

© Pam Walatka

December is gloomy. The word gloom means darkness or dimness or melancholy or depression. December is the darkest month of the year. Our half of the planet, the Northern Hemisphere, is tipped away from the sun. The days are short; darkness comes early. By nature, Christmas time is gloomy.

In this darkest month, we make light. We string up extra lights around the house. We have parties. We give each other presents. We remember spiritually uplifting events. We send each other cheerful cards, often with pictures of healthy children. We make merry, to dispel the gloom.

Christmas has gained such a reputation for being merry that some people expect holiday cheer to appear in the air by itself. It does not. We make the cheer. It is the responsibility of adults to create cheer and light, to challenge the gloom.

Even with an effort toward cheer, we are affected by the atmosphere. People naturally get grumpier in winter. From Christmas Day to Valentine's Day, your loved ones, neighbors, roommates, and employers are more-than-normally likely to say the wrong thing. During this period, you would be wise to downgrade any thoughts you might have about divorce, dis-inheritance, suicide, lawsuits, moving out, or quitting your job. People, including you, are feeling winter-induced crankiness. Forgive yourself and others--it's only the weather.

If someone hurts your feelings, get over it. Probably they did not mean what you thought they meant.

Maybe you could take a very big breath, land yourself solidly on your feet in this moment, and laugh it off. It ain’t easy, but someone’s gotta do it.

On December 21, our end of the planet starts getting closer to the sun again. That's something. In the meantime, make light of perceived insults, and make light.


Christmas light string illustration by Pam Walatka. Open copyright: OK to share for non-commercial use.


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