Meet my buddy, Seven. He is super cute. Recently I was helping him in art class and he painted a very blue Christmas emu and then wrote the words ‘Merry Sad Christmas’ next to it. When I asked him why the emu was sad, Seven broke into song:
‘Hello darkness my old friend…’
I helpfully joined in and sang the next line with him. Seven stamped his foot and said,
‘Hey! How do you know THAT song?’. I said (very cool like),
‘Because I heard it. Back in the 70s.’ Then I asked Seven what made his emu so sad and he stuck out his bottom lip and replied,
‘Because last Christmas his present was clothes’.
Not all of us feel overly joyful at Christmas.
This is the third Sunday of Advent when we light the Joy candle. Hmmm….
The Christmas vibes in my neighbourhood have been strange this year. We have all been trying to get on with being Christmassy against an ominous backdrop of smoke and a steady stream of bushfire updates. Much of our state has gone up in flames. Homes and lives have been lost. It is an eerie, deeply unsettling feeling. Not so joyous.
Also, this year, I am hundreds and thousands of kilometres away from people who are dear to me. I am missing them terribly badly. So that adds another layer of not feeling so joyous.
What I have been thinking though, is maybe joy doesn’t always come to us consistently and comprehensively. Maybe a few snippets of joy, here and there, are enough to keep us going. Kind words, a meal, a hug, a flower, a song, a poem, an invitation, a smile, can all help. These have been the snippets of joy for me recently. And Seven. He makes me laugh so hard.
I have also been thinking that to keep joy alive, we have to keep bringing joy to others, in spite of how we feel. There’s nothing to lose, is there? As Anne Frank said,
‘No one has ever become poor by giving.’
Speaking of Australian fauna, one of my favourite Christmas books is called Wombat Divine. It’s written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Kerry Argent. My heart swells with joy every time I read it. At the very same time tears spring to my eyes. It really is something special. If you have any little ones in your life, make sure you find a copy and read it to them soon. Or just read it to yourself.
I hope you don’t have a Merry Sad Christmas but if you are feeling a little blue, think of Seven and his emu and let’s pray their presents aren’t clothes this time.