Monday, December 28, 2009

Those Post-Christmas Blues

Christmas is quickly becoming a fading memory. If Christmas was a high moment for you, either spiritually or materially or both, feeling a letdown is natural. For some, the holiday period from Christmas through New Year's is a depressing time anyway.

For me the poet W.H. Auden captures the essence of the time after Christmas in his poem, "For the Time Being":

The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory.
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
of Lent and Good Friday, which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off. But, for the time being, here we all are,
Back in the moderate Aristotelian city
Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid's geometry
And Newton's mechanics would account for our experience.
And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.
It seems to have shrunk during the holidays. The streets
Are much narrower than we remembered; we had forgotten
The office was as depressing as this. To those who have seen
The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all.

My question is: Does the return to our usual routine of work and chores need to be depressing? I think there is something positive and even comforting in returning to "normal" life. Can we enjoy the celebration of Christmas without it making everyday life seem dull and boring by comparison?

I believe we don't have to give in to the post-Christmas blues. How? By recognizing that life will always have its high moments and its low moments. Life will always be a mixture of joy and sadness and everything in between. Life is not lived mostly on mountaintops or in valleys, but on the everyday plains.

There is so much to affirm and enjoy about the routines of everyday life. It is here and now, on the Monday after Christmas, that the meaning and purpose of life can be found.

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