December 19, 2016

bad santa

I thought this was the year I wouldn’t write this, but today it hit me, my wife saw it on my face like I had wrote it on my forehead, she started making up Christmas songs with nonsense verses to make me laugh, a few minutes and it passed. Whew!

But for those who suffer in the holidays, know it can get better, but don’t suffer in silence, share with someone.

It time for my annual Christmas story, the reason it’s an annual story is from Thanksgiving until about March, I suffer from seasonal affect disorder (SAD) winter depression. The worst part about it is the feeling of not being connected to anyone or anything. I have one word in my vocabulary, actually it’s two, “I quit”, but I get through it and some years are worse than others. Its Christmas time, and I hate the songs, and I hate the sentiments, and the best thing for me is to keep my mouth shut. Here is my version of a Christmas Carol.

Our trip to cut down a Christmas tree starts out as a normal family time. Everyone in the car, my sister and I hoping and praying for a pleasant day. “One stop at MacDonald’s Bar and Grill for a quick one. You guys sit tight,” Dad says.

And a few hours later a neighbor or a state cops comes by and takes you home.

Its three days before Christmas and there’s a knock on the door. In come three giants in police uniform. They set up the tree that you never got and decorate it, and they put down the toys and candies and bring in bags of groceries because somehow they know you have been eating nothing but cheerios and spam. You can’t believe someone cares, and as they leave, they tousle your hair, saying “Be the man, hold it together.”

It’s Christmas Eve, and you and your sister huddle in bed without any visions of sugarplums in your head. All you can hear are the sound of your drunken father, shooting his gun in the air, laughing and saying, “That fat SOB isn’t stopping here tonight so get your asses to bed.”

Christmas morning dawns, and you race down the stairs. But there’s no Christmas tree, no toys, no decorations. Nothing is said, but you and your sister are packed up to grandma’s house, where you can get a semblance of Christmas, where you can feel safe and can be a child again.

The Christmas tree is sold with all the toys and decorations right there in your home. Maybe it’s because your father owes someone money, or maybe it’s just because he thinks it’s funny.

Oh, but everyone has to love Christmas.   Not me!

I never shot the gun into the air. I never sold the goods out from under your nose. I never got drunk and laid in a stupor for the holidays.

I just bitch about everything.   Why do I have to do it? Why ask me to participate? Oh, well, the martyr syndrome kicks in, and I say just get it over with. I create the tension, I crate the threats, and it’s me who hates Christmas.

I am fully saved. I am fully justified and sanctified. But I can’t get through the depression that falls upon me. It hovers all year and descends in full force at Thanksgiving time.

Ho, Ho, Ho. I can’t do it. My first full time position as an associate pastor, I try to play the Christmas Pastor.   I reach the point of thinking if I hear another Christmas carol or poem or get invited to another church Christmas party I’m going to puke.

It can’t be hidden. Finally I get called into the office two days before New Year’s Eve and asked what’s wrong with me. Must be a “seasonal effect disorder.”

And so in a wind blown field, all is lost, all is gone; the holidays have robbed me of everything. No one can love me, no one comes near, they are afraid of the anger, the tempest. The depression is black, the Gallic curse is full blown, and a berserker mentality is taking root. A siege engine is gripping my thoughts.   Why surrender? Why strive? Give up, give in, stop fighting.  Give it up!

The lies and seduction call you to rest. The serpent is whispering, “Pull the trigger, stop fighting, you’ve lost. There is no shame, it’s the family curse.”

And the hammer starts to fall, and the laughter gets louder. Everything slows to a crawl.

“Does He matter more than this, a voice whispers, God still speaks

You fall to your knees, and weep, tears freeze on your face.   You think all is lost, all is gone, never to regain.

I live through Christmas. The trigger is not pulled. I know by March all will be well, and winter will be gone. Easter will come and the depression that has been with me most of the year, the weight like going down the mine, crushing, suffocating, the blackness, rage, and desperation will disappear for awhile.

And the epiphany always comes. Christ Precious. “Is Christ precious to you?” It’s more than saying you love Him. It’s more than calling him Lord. It’s a fact that you must lose all, watch everything crumble, but there is no companion, no possession worth anything more than Christ.

On bended knee the cry escapes my lips, “Take it all, you’ve taken it all, and you are precious. With this and no more I crave, not one thing can be added, and I will say you are most precious to me.

You shout, “Yes, He is more precious, nothing else matters, if all I have is this moment, it is enough, because He is most precious.”

He is most precious, and with His arms of grace about you, you fall asleep. It is lifted.

God bless from

And Merry Freak’n Christmas

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