An unexpected snowstorm. And in this hour before sunset, the sky has cleared enough for the lingering rays of the sun to cast a delicate wash of pink across the newly fallen snow.
This beauty can make you feel cozy and secure or desolate and lonely. My decorations are up, my first round of Christmas cookies have been baked and given out. Handel’s “Messiah” plays in the background as I move around my home.
I sit down to my morning devotions and read this passage by Henri Nouwen:
“When a person is surrounded by a loving, supportive community, Advent and Christmas seem pure joy. But let me not forget my lonely moments because it does not take much that loneliness reappears… When Jesus was loneliness, gave most. That realization should help to deepen my commitment to service and let my desire to give become independent of my actually experience of joy. Only a deepening of my life in Christ will make that possible.”
Henri Nouwen, a priest, teacher, and spiritual writer, wrote openly about his battle with depression. It is occasionally repeated that this season of darkness and light, joy and recollection, has one of the highest suicides rates of the year. It is difficult to comprehend that truth as we gaze at the joyful faces of young children gathered for the lighting of the Christmas tree downtown. It’s hard to imagine anyone feeling alone when stores and restaurants and even our churches are filled with smiling, happy people.