little reminders it’s still Christmas…

… My co-workers hate it, but I refuse to take down the office Christmas tree or remove the Nordic Baby Jesus. I’m glad I didn’t, because I need to keep celebrating just a little bit longer. See, I get terrible seasonal depression and have bouts of insomnia during the winter months. I don’t care what anyone says, I am convinced beyond doubt Hell is cold. And dark. Hell is a biting cold place where you feel like you’ll never be warm again or feel the sun on your face. In Hell it’s perpetual winter and January is a bit like Narnia under the rule of the White Witch, always winter never Christmas. So why are people so anxious to see Christmas over? What do we have to look forward to? Lent. Gee… party on.

Feeling terribly morose as I left work this evening, bundled up against the bleak winter weather, the church bells across the street chimed a joyful tune …

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Immediately my heart soared.

photo: One of the many nativities found around my home. This one sits on the living room bookshelf surrounded by lighted garland and fresh sprigs of holly from my yard.

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  • kenneth

    Your characterization of hell as cold is an interesting one. It took me back to memories of my late teens, when I worked an outdoor labor job summers and weekends. One of my co-workers at the time was from Ghana, where the “cold season” probably means low 80s! It was his first winter working here outside, and he truly thought he had been sentenced to the lowest level of hell! In my own version of divine mercy, I used to drag out a half-million BTU kerosene heater, about the size of a small jet engine and aim it right on him while he worked! 

    • Karyn

      I have full blown Seasonal Affective Disorder, which, untreated, gives me insomnia too.  You might want to check out Winter Blues from the library and see if it resonates with you.  Things that help me: a light box alarm clock–it lights up w/ a bright light in the morning.  It’s the brightness that counts, and it doesn’t have to be full spectrum light.  I also have another light I use while praying the breviary.  Sam-E diet supplement and increased Magnesium, esp. a week before my period have also helped. I’m not on anti-depressants any more and my sleep has improved.  And, of course, exercise, which I’m not as good at making time for, but when I do, it makes a difference.  Just my two cents, take it for what it’s worth.  God bless.

  • Yeah, we have 4-5 weeks of Ordinary Time before we go to Lent from our “mini-Lent”…whoopie! I’m glad to stay as long as possible in this joyous season! 

  • Daniel Barrett

    Dante would agree with you that Hell is cold.  Roll on, spring! 

  • Denver Gregg

    Non-religious Christmas music is mostly about anticipating a happy Christmas, so it really doesn’t fit well during the twelve days of Christmas.  Religious Christmas music fits better now than it did during Advent, so there’s good reason to keep religious Christmas music going!

    I was super happy that there were still glimmers of light in the western sky when I left work yesterday.

  • michael

    C.S. Lewis also agreed with Dante (“The Great Divorce” Also the Magi (“Little Christmas”!)haven’t shown up yet (Friday on old calendar, Sunday on new) and, if I can remember that far back I believe the Christmas season lasted until Candlemas (the end of Mary’s “uncleanliness” under Levitical Law)

  • Karen

    That is a beautiful little Nativity set. Would love to find one like it. Can you tell us where you got it? I would have them all over my house too if I had more 🙂

  • Jeannepergande

    Dante wrote that Hell was a lake of ice.

  • Kay

    Christmas is my favorite season of the year and I keep a CD of “Best Loved Carols” from Kings College Cambridge in my car CD player all year.  Having Christmas in the background as the seasons change keeps me happier and hopeful.  Yeah, I know that some people might think it’s weird but once you get old, it doesn’t really matter what people think.

  • doughboy

    beautiful nativity!  and dante would agree w/you about hell being ice cold.

  • Funnibunney

    For those who follow the Julian calendar, it will be Christmas (again?) on Saturday.

  • Katie O’Keefe

    You know, I have thought of Hell as a cold place for years now.  It occurred to me that this might be so when I was taking the bus and walking everywhere one very cold winter.  By the time I would slog through the snow and ice and slushy puddles, my toes would be on fire from the cold  That’s when it occurred to me that cold was an unquenchable fire.  I thought I was so original.  Then I read Dante.  

    I am all for leaving my Christmas decorations up as long as I can, but sometimes, it’s just my disorganization.  Typically we get things put away by The Baptism of the Lord, and sometimes we stretch it to Candlemas Day (February 2nd), but one year, we almost had an “Easter Tree”.  Ooops….