Merry Christmas

Fox News is again awash with outrage over the “War on Christmas.”  The latest installment has Megyn Kelly proclaiming that Santa Claus and Jesus are indisputably white.  While I am hard pressed to have sympathy for anything broadcast on Fox, I must admit to a sadness that “Merry Christmas” has morphed into “Happy Holidays.”

I’m Jewish and as a kid I loved Christmas.  I believed in Santa with all my might and when told he was fictional, my little heart broke.   I was in a choir and year after year I experienced great joy in singing those lovely carols about the silent night and three kings of orient.  Christmas was a time of joy all around me.  There was honest good will and magic was in the air.  It wasn’t a solstice celebration or the big holiday at the end of the year (that coincided with Hannukah).  It was Christmas.   Christmas is  the holiday of Ebeneezer Scrooge’s  character transformation and the vindication of the goodness of James Stewart’s George Bailey.  Of all the holidays in the calendar, Christmas  is the only one that celebrates man’s essential kindness, charity and warmth.  It is the holiday which honors the birth of the Prince of Peace, and, indeed,  peace permeates our homes and spirits.  So I am inclined to say “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays.”  ( And while we are at it, how about Bill O’Reilly and his comrades shower those of us who secularize the holiday with a little “peace and good will toward men.”)

The Weight of Depression

Those of us who have suffered with depression isolate.  We cannot bear contact with others.  It’s as if our brains are exquisitely sensitive to touch.  Nobody can understand the depth and the utter truth of our dark, endless despair.  When we are in an intimate relationship the complications can magnify.  We can’t really isolate.  In the depth of a depressive episode, we maintain such a focus on our horrible inner pain that the very notion that we have an impact on another is hard to fathom – well, we easily see ourselves as a burden on others – but we don’t understand the depression as something other than ourselves.  Depression is an illness that challenges the relationship.  It is not the depressed person who challenges the relationship.   A good web article on this subject may be found here:    Depression and intimate relationships  My wish for all depression sufferers who struggle in your marriages is that you embrace the reality that this darkness is not you and that with treatment you can come to know that the pain is not permanent – it can pass and you can recover a life that allows kindness, peace and joy to touch your heart.  Having a loving partner who will join with you is among your greatest gifts.