The Songs of Christmas: Day 15
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Hard Times Come Again No More
Here’s the thing about Christmas, and Christmas music, and Christmastime in general:
It’s hard, and messy, and sad.
Sad because none of us are ever as kind as we should be, or want to be.
It’s messy because every family has a grumpy atheist, and we’re not sure how to do Christmas with them. But we feel compelled to do something, and someone always gets their feelings hurt, or offended, and then mom is sad, and that one selfish person just seems to ruin everything and they don’t care and they’re depressed about something that has nothing to do with anyone but them.
It’s hard because people keep getting divorced and getting cancer and kids get sick and sisters and mothers and uncles die and they’re just so completely gone, and their absence just sucks the life out of everything.
And it just sucks in general because almost everyone would much rather spend Christmas with good friends in the mountains in Colorado instead of with our complicated families, but even good friends won’t admit that to each other, because almost no one ever says what they mean, and we all walk around with this completely fake confidence and act like everything is amazing, when we all know for certain that everyone is pretty much faking whatever joy they put up.
Anyway the point is this – Christmastime, while commonly thought to be the most wonderful time of the year, is actually the most difficult time of the year – for literally everyone. So that’s the trouble with the whole program.
And there’s a part of us that actually wants it to end up that way, if we’re honest.
Because what we truly want most – way more than we want for everyone to be happy – is for all our dismal expectations to turn out exactly the way we thought they would, and to be as sad as we all knew we’d be, and to be the most wronged victim of the whole thing, and then, in our darkest quiet moment of sadness, when we are crying somewhere alone, for someone to just come check on us, and see if we’re alright, and be sensitive to the hurt soul within us, and – just for a few seconds – love us with some kind of wild abandon.
And then just like that, in the most un-miraculous way, Christmas hits us like a ton of bricks.
It’s the same kind of Christmas that hit us the first time.
God stoops down low and gives us that quiet gift that comes only during the darkest nights of our hearts.
Compassion. And hope.
He doesn’t fix our problems, he just cries with us in the midst of them.
And somehow, that’s actually better.
Oh, hard times come again no more.
Today’s story is by Jacob Slaton, and we’ve linked to his favorite version of this song below.
Jacob Slaton is a photographer in North Little Rock and a recent convert to the beauty and wonder of #DogtownLife. He and his wife Micaiah have three kids, and a couple of attic squirrels. He loves the Grateful Dead, James Taylor, and sitting around the campfire with friends.