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As I may or may not have mentioned in this space, Christmas and I are having a hard time connecting this year.  I’m not sure why, but my head just can’t seem to snap itself into Yule mode.  This might seem like a minor issue to some people, but to me it is close to catastrophe.  You see, I was raised in a home that was always filled to bursting with Christmas spirit and joy.  Christmas was a joyous time.  And, even as kids, it wasn’t all about receiving gifts.  We were taught at an early age to treasure the look on the face of someone opening a gift that you agonized over the selection of.  We also learned to love every other aspect of the season, and to keep our faith and remember the real reason for it.

All of these things have continued into my adulthood, and my wife is every bit as big a Christmas enthusiast as any in my family growing up.  This usually means that I dive in with both feet and immerse myself in the holiday.

But, not this year.  I am trying, but a light layer of melancholy seems to inform my every action these days.  And, I am beginning to think that I may not be alone in this.

One of the traditions that my wife and I have is taking a drive on one or two chilly December nights to see all of the Christmas lights.  We drive from neighborhood to neighborhood playing our own game of rating them and declaring a winner each year.  It’s all in good fun, and is always something that lightens the spirit to see all the displays.  Heck, we even tune the radio to the local Christmas station in sing along to the carols.

We’ve gone out a time or two this season, and the results have been a little grim.  Of course there are displays out there, and some magnificent ones.  And, there are the places you can always depend on to do displays of particular beauty or flamboyance.  But, what we also saw on our drives was more dark streets than I have ever seen.  Somehow the dark of a December night feels even…well, darker when you look down a street and see no decorations.  None.  Zero.

I have to wonder if we as a community are feeling that same melancholy that has been haunting me.  I have to wonder if perhaps people are simply not feeling celebratory this year.  And that just makes me sad.

I am working hard to recapture that Christmas spirit.  And, while it still eludes me to a certain extent, I am starting to feel it beginning to roil my blood.  This is a time of peace, faith, compassion, and belief.  We, as a notion, sorely need it this year.  Perhaps times aren’t so great these days and the melancholy is easy to wrap around yourself.  But, there is always hope.  A new year lays out before us soon, perhaps we all need to consider it a time of rebirth.

So, have a cup of egg nog on me and remember the joy that the season brings.  Let’s put the melancholy aside for a time and be of great joy.

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