This time of year is difficult for a number of my friends. They struggle with memories of loved ones who have passed away. Others struggle with a table that will have one less person due to a broken relationship. People all over struggle with depression, loneliness, and despair. It can make putting up a tree or watching Christmas movies seem foolish. What can a person do when this funk starts to seep into the bones?
A friend of mine, who was born in Europe, has never seen A Christmas Carol. I thought this odd since there are so many variations of the story, from animated, live action, and my personal favorite, the Muppet version. I tried to imagine how I would explain the story to him.
A man named Ebenezer Scrooge has come to see love and joy as foolish and wasteful. His only focus is on money and keeping a strict tally of every pence and pound. He has lost all family and friends through one event or another and now only Bob Crachet seems to keep him company. And that’s probably because Scrooge writes the paycheck for Bob each week.
Scrooge heads home after work Christmas Eve night and finds himself greeted by three ghosts, Past, Present, and Future. Scrooge has the opportunity to see where he has been, what he has lost, what he has left, and what will be left behind when he is gone. It’s sobering and in the end Scrooge realizes his failings, but also the opportunity to correct and repair his mistakes.
Scrooge had been playing hide and seek with joy. For most of his life joy had been lost, left behind by the desire for other pursuits. He became a changed man because the joy which had been lost was found again on Christmas morning.
That’s the way it is in our world. We begin with joy, cups filled to overflowing when we are children. As we mature we tend to dismiss the simple joys we once loved. After a while we tend to think joy is something only found in the past. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Joy comes from a deep trust, a deeper peace, and a belief that joy can be found again. If we just seek to find it. A wonderful friend gave me a book to write down three good things that happened each day throughout the year. I didn’t have to write pages or tell stories, I just had to stop and reflect for a moment. It could be the joy I found in my son’s smile, my husband’s laugh, or the snowflakes falling outside. The point was to seek it out.
Dear Ones, I don’t know what this season brings to mind and heart for you. I hope it brings a peace and joy to your life. Sometimes, it’s easy to find, other times, it can take making a conscious decision to seek it out. Believe me though, when I say, when you seek it you will find it.