A Blue Christmas

As Christmas approaches, does the absence of loved ones color the season with shades of blue?

It’s a song that’s part of my early childhood memories. I’m sure I remember it because both of my parents always listened to music and my father tended to sing along. Given my parent’s fondness for music, it’s not surprising that the Elvis Presley version of Blue Christmas is a song I fondly remember them singing.

Written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson in the 1940’s, the lyrics to this song of unrequited love are simple and touching:

I’ll have a blue Christmas without you
I’ll be so blue just thinking about you
Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree
Won’t be the same dear, if you’re not here with me

And when those blue snowflakes start falling
That’s when those blue memories start calling
You’ll be doin’ all right, with your Christmas of white
But I’ll have a blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas

A blue Christmas has come to refer to those who experience Christmas in the midst of loss and grief. For many people, no other time is as tender as the winter holiday season after a loved one’s passing. The many happy memories shared over holidays past become reminders that the loved one is no longer present. Blue Christmas’s don’t just come the first year after the death of a loved one; for some people, the holiday is simply never the same.

In the blueness of the holiday season, perhaps it’s helpful to remember that the Christmas story is marked by light and darkness, joy and pain, good news and great fear. It was on a cold, dark night when the star appeared. Joy to the world rang out as a young girl gave birth alone in a hillside cave. Angels sang of glad tidings while the people lived in fear. The story of Christmas is one filled with ambiguities and contradictions. In this way, it’s not a children’s story but one that reflects the hardship, complexity, and duality of life.

As my experience of Christmas takes on stronger hues of blue, the red and green, the silver and gold also remain. The holidays are not diminished so much as they are expanded to include Christmas past and Christmas present ….while I live into Christmas future, which surely will become even richer in color and meaning.

So it is that I come into this holiday season thankful for the sacred memories of love and joy shared with loved ones now departed and once again wish them peace: yes, peace on earth and in the realm where they now rest. And with joy I celebrate the gift of life born anew with loved ones who this holiday grace my life with their presence.

Can memories of loved ones from Christmases past help you to find a greater depth of meaning in this holiday season?

(Photo credit: almostsummersky via Foter.com / CC BY-NC)

© 2016, emerging by Lou Kavar, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.

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