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Depressed or lonely at Christmas? (and the winter solstice)


photoWednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

O come, thou dayspring, come and cheer

Our spirits by thine advent here;

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night

And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

                                                                                                          ~ O Antiphons

There sometimes can be a lot of depression swirling around at Christmas.

People can feel lonelier because we’re expected to be more cheerful and we may just not feel it.

This blog is meant for us to pray and reach out and notice these folks.

Let’s be with folks who have lost a loved one and who still miss them.

With kids who are shuffled back from one parent to another to “celebrate” the holidays.

With soldiers far away from home and from their families.

And so, may we pray:

There are sometimes dark clouds in our lives, Lord.
Pierce the gloominess of our lives with Your very own Light.
May we allow You to dawn in us and on us this day.
May we be ready for Your dawning in a new way in our lives this Christmas.
May this celebration of Jesus’ birth bring meaning and joy in the midst of our worries and concerns.
And may we BE the dawning of  your light and love and justice
in our homes, our neighborhoods, our jobs, our world.

And there are dark and ominous clouds over our world right now, Lord.
Pierce our greed and hate, fear and complacency, violence with hope, Lord.
May we pray earnestly for a new dawn for our beloved country and our world.                                         We 
need healing in our nation right now, Lord.
May we BE the dawning of  your light and love and justice in our land.

Lord Jesus, come!  May we be ready for the dawn of your coming in a new way this Christmas,
May the light of that dawning transform our lives and our land.
We need Your Light and Your Love more than ever.

COME LORD JESUS!

And this morning the Winter Solstice occurred  in the northern hemisphere at 5:44am. It’s the shortest day of the year, and is a major celebration for our pagan brothers and sisters, most notably at Stonehenge in Great Britain.  I do not use the term pagan pejoratively; they are the peoples who are reverently close to the earth.

Did you know the date of Christmas was taken from the winter solstice because it marks, in the northern hemisphere, the beginning of the ascendency of the sun? It connotes the phrase in Scripture in which John the Baptist says the “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30).  And the Baptist’s feast day, likewise is near the summer solstice on June 24th.  Thus, the church did not hesitate to borrow from the existing pagan customs.  Christmas trees, for example, came from Germany and the wreath symbolized eternity were again pagan customs.

Did you know that in the middle ages they lit real candles on their Christmas trees?  How ’bout that? Times were more  quiet and peaceful back then, with less anger to upset the trees, I would surmise, and more well-behaved kids?

Some Christians today misunderstand our “cross-enculturation”  of things that once had a pagan origin and sometimes berate those of us who celebrate Christmas.

Now before you go, here’s a charming version of Tiny Tim’s “God bless us, everyone” from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, composed and sung by Andrea Bocelli. Click here. Be sure to enter full screen and turn up your speakers.

And here are today’s Mass readings, if you would like to reflect on them. Click here.

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