This time of year gives me a case of emotional whiplash. I bounce through some days to a mental soundtrack like the Hallelujah Chorus, energetic, victorious, and joyful. Then without knowing what hit me, I wake up the next day stiff with fear and suffering from aches of self-doubt. Bah-Humbug.
According to Wikipedia, “humbug” originally meant “hoax” or “jest.” It was most famously used by Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to express disdain for the fraud of Christmas. Therefore, as a Christian, humbug days puzzle me, for I do not believe Christmas is a fraud. I believe it is true. In fact, I’m a little embarrassed to admit to humbug days having just written about the Light of Jesus poking holes in our darkness, but honesty demands that I post about the humbugs as well as the Hallelujahs.
There are well documented reasons and remedies for holiday blues. Emotions, losses remembered, expectations and obligations are heightened at this time of the year, and we carry their combined weight through our days. It gets a little heavy. Maybe the same can be said for our spiritual states. It’s Christmas, I tell myself, I should be extra cheerful, hopeful and joyful! And then I’m surprised if I’m not.
I realize, somewhat sheepishly, that the acute awareness of my own emotions betrays a misplaced focus on…me. How I feel. How I would like to feel. Bah-Humbug! Christmas is not about me. I won’t get a stiff neck watching the rise and fall of my emotions if I keep my steady gaze on Jesus, for Christmas is about Him. Ultimately, does it really matter if today is a Hallelujah day or a bah-humbug day? Jesus is in them both.
Does anyone else find this an emotionally volatile time of year? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2