Friday, November 30, 2007
Pre Advent Defrag
I stopped in at Revgalsblogpals today to find that the Friday Five was about the things that we disliked about Christmas. It had more respondents that I can remember a Friday Five getting. I don’t think I will play because I don’t want to “out” myself too soon. But it sounds that the Winter Blahs have settled upon my sisters of the cloth.
I know that blah all too well. Curiously I am not in a funk this year. I think having a job after too long unemployed helps. But I think that the later change in the change of the clocks has put off the usual blues that attacks sometime during November. I am fussy now when it is dark when I go to the office and dark when I get home. But the dread is not there.
All clergy know about the November-January depression that often hits a number of parishioners. And those of us clergy who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) try to hold it together through Christmas. We have to deal with more funerals, more marriage counseling, more despondent teens and usually problems in our own families than the rest of the year combined. And this year because Easter is so early, we feel that there is no rest for the weary.
With that said, Christmas is still my favorite of the major feasts. There is a hope in Christmas that is special. It is a celebration of the Incarnation, an embracing of the goodness of human existence that I love. I am sure that this puts me in opposition to Luther who believed in the inherent evil of humanity. But Christmas, I think, points to the Original Blessing of humanity rather than Original Sin. I do not ignore the tendency towards sinfulness of humanity. One needs but try to shop on Black Friday to experience that. I am not naïve in my understanding of our existence. But there is a quality of holiness that Christ brought to human nature in the Incarnation. And Christmas and the preparations for Christmas through Advent help me to see the goodness in others despite the Christmas rush.
I do enjoy the “blue” season or “purple” preparations for the Nativity. The crèche, the changes in the service, the music, the gathering of people who have finally found their way back to church after the summer, and the anticipation that all have. Granted, many of the expectations we hold for the season do not get fulfilled, but each year they are there nonetheless.
Perhaps that is as it should be. Our faith is built on hope—the hope for a better life, the hope for a better future, the hope that the fears that we also hold will not be realized.
My sister clergy at Revgals have “dumped” their grumpiness before the beginning of Advent. It is probably a good sign. We all need to ‘defrag’ ourselves before we head into the next 5 seasons without a breath. My prayer that we can find in all of it the sustenance of Christ’s love and joy in God’s Original Blessing.