“Oh my friends I've
Begun to worry right
Where I should be grateful
I should be satisfied
Oh my heart I
Would clap and dance in place
With my friends I have so
Much pleasure to embrace
But my heart is
Returned to sister winter
But my heart is
As cold as ice”--"Sister Winter" by Sufjan Stevens
Around this time every year, I feel strangely melancholy. Like Charlie Brown before me, I know I should be happy: Christmas is coming! And while I am glad I can finally listen to “A Very Special Christmas Vol. 1” over and over again, I still have this feeling of gloom.
Maybe it’s the weather. After all, it is that time again to put away the flip-flops and t-shirts, and break out the heavy coats and sweaters. Plus, the days are getting shorter, so when I get off work it looks like the middle of night outside.
But I think it’s something much deeper than that.
Call me a party pooper, but I can’t help but think about all the people out there that won’t have themselves a merry little Christmas. I think of the homeless man trying to keep warm, the little girl wondering why her poverty-stricken parents say they’re not going to have a Christmas this year, and the lonely man who is thinking about ending his own life. I also think about my own life and all of the mistakes I’ve made during the past year, and all of the unresolved issues that are waiting for me in the new year. Maybe I’m the Charlie Browniest of all the Charlie Browns in the world after all.
Or maybe it’s all just part of the Advent season.
This past Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent, the time where we prepare our hearts for the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. As we light the wreath and sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” we think about how this world, this life, isn’t how God originally intended it to be. We think about the Second Advent, when all will be made new again, by meditating on the First.
So maybe all of this melancholy is just my spirit groaning with creation to see the world restored.
I can’t help but think about The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, how it was “always winter and never Christmas” in Narnia before Aslan came. Even though it sounds like a lyric to a bad emo song, “always winter and never Christmas” is a good way to describe the state of this present world. But one day the snow will melt.