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December 21, 2010 / MrsH

Christmas: a season

Ever seen this quote by Edna Ferber?  I saw it this morning on one of those church quote boards.

Christmas isn’t a season, it’s a feeling.

I used to love that little quote, giving me a little boost to continue trying to feel happy and great and listening to the Christmas jingles on the radio that all say, well, nothing in the end.  I’m not exactly sure what Ms. Ferber meant when she said this, I’ve always taken it to mean something like: “don’t be a Scrooge, shape up and smile, it’s Christmas!”  That might not be even remotely close to what she intended, but I’ve been thinking, recently, that Christmas is a season indeed.  And it’s important as a season, to observe it in that way, irrespective of what our feelings that particular year might be.

After all, if I’m feeling sad, angry, lonely, disappointed, frightened, adrift, burdened, exhausted, or are grieving a loss, does that mean that I’m not experiencing Christmas?  No.  There is indeed a liturgical season centered around Christmas, starting with Advent, followed by Christmas Day where we celebrate Jesus’ birth, and for the next 12 days, after which we celebrate Epiphany on Jan. 6th.  This season has been observed by God’s people for centuries, even as they/we experience some very big and difficult feelings.

There is a mystery surrounding all of this, this whole thing of Jesus being the Son of God, of God becoming fully human, and what that all means for us even today.  That mystery reels us in, if we let it.  In that sense, the feelings (might) follow the season.  All of the talk and singing about how this is the most wonderful time of year just leads down a path of “shoulds,” which have never been helpful to anyone’s mental health.  So as we celebrate this liturgical season of, and surrounding, Christmas, let’s draw close to God.  Let’s seek Him.  Let’s find what He has to offer each of us this year.  Even if our feelings are not the ones typically associated with the Christmas hype.



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  1. RuthyToothy / Dec 25 2010 9:08 pm

    Oh how I wish I’d been able to read this just before Christmas 2009! You are so, SO right! I suffered severe PND after the birth of my son last September, and the more I felt I “should” be doing things to celebrate his first Christmas the “right” way, the more hopeless, useless and incapable I felt, which resulted in me getting physically ill on top of my mental ill-health, and spending last Christmas feeling utterly miserable. Maybe if I’d read this, about just needing to draw close to God, and let Him decide what that Christmas is to be about, and what He wanted to teach me, I just might have been capable of enjoying the season, and could possibly even have snapped out of my depression a few months earlier!

    Here’s hoping that someone else can take some strength from your words! And for myself, I’m going to bookmark this post, so I can come back to it if I ever need to in future years.

    Thank you!!

    • MrsH / Dec 25 2010 10:16 pm

      I’m glad the words resonate with you, and also that you are doing much better now (it sounds like anyway). Hope you had a God-filled Christmas!

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