Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | December 5, 2010

Merry and Melancholy CHRISTmas

I only watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” in private these days.  I can tear up at the opening credits.  So, it’s better to bear the bittersweet in private.  Bittersweet is still sweet.  But, I feel like a fool to boo hoo in front of others.

See the clip above.  George Bailey has done his best.  But, then it seems that all life is going to be a loss – with disgrace and jail to boot.  Hollywood makes it all end well.  Real life rarely works out so neatly.  See the desperation that George shows.  That is a window on the CHRISTmas melancholy I’ve known.

It’s different from the sadness that comes with loss in life.  That is straightforward and normal.  It runs for its season and dissipates like the sun dissolves a fog.

It’s not a personal pity party.  Those pathetic occasions are unworthy and unnecessary.

It’s a profound sadness for all bad things that came from bad choices of thought, word and deed to people I love and people I care about deeply.  Things that didn’t have to be.  Things I couldn’t fix and can’t fix – and damaged people I can’t fix.

George couldn’t fix the shortfall at the bank by himself.  In the movie, the people he had touched in his life fixed it for him.  In life, the one, only, true, living God is the only one who can fix people.

Different people have different issues and blues at CHRISTmas.  My Melancholy rides a roller coaster with Merry.   I come up quickly with the triumphant hymns of CHRISTmas.  I ascend the next hump with wonderful memories.  The hope that never dies.  The will to never quit.  The overwhelming sense of being personally and privately blessed by Grace.

The joy that comes in Jesus brings me up.  In Lord Jesus Christ alone.  In a personal relationship with Him.

Then, like George, I can see such loss so close at hand.  I can see pain I can’t prevent.  The precious moments at CHRISTmas can become painful.  Yet, like a roller coaster they swoop down and start back up so fast.

May the Lord bless and keep all who know melancholy at CHRISTmas – or anytime.  May every George Bailey find peace in Jesus.  May every Clarence earn his wings.


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