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Have yourself a melancholy Christmas

The joy was forced. Christmas 2005 was clouded by the very recent deaths of my grandmothers. While it seemed most of the world was making merry, our family made funeral arrangements. Death doesn’t stop at intersections to let Santa’s sleigh cruise by. It has the right-of-way. Always.

I’ve found solace and even validation through some of the following songs. If you are having a rough year, know that it’s okay to roll with the punches and own what you are going through. Some of the songs have melancholy lyrics. Others simply have a subdued, worshipful tone. All are lovely.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15

I think this extends into the realm of the arts. If you are mourning, don’t ask Susie Snowflake to mourn with you. But Judy Garland gets sorrow and having to muddle through somehow.

1. Sister Winter by Sufjan Stevens.

2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland

3. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by Frank Sinatra.

4. Merry Christmas, Here’s to Many More by Relient K

5. Winter Song by Sarah Bareilles & Ingrid Michelson

6. Carol of the Bells by Sixpence None the Richer.

7. Only at Christmas Time by Sufjan Stevens

8. Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel by Nicole C. Mullen.

(the links go to Amazon and are not paid or sponsored in any way)

6 comments to Have yourself a melancholy Christmas

  • edj

    LOVE that pic! Christmas is bittersweet to those who have lost. THanks for the links.

  • I often let the bittersweet melody of “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel” wash over me when the forced Christmas cheer is too much. It becomes saccharine. My soul needs something real. And that song anchors me.

    I also think the song “Breath of Heaven” sung by Amy Grant has a soulful quality to it. During my hardest Christmas, when my heart was broken into a thousand shards and I could see nothing but darkness, that song became my prayer. “Breath of heaven, hold me together. Be forever near me. Light in my darkness. Pour over me your holiness, for you are holy.”

  • Thanks, I’m off to listen. My father-in-law passed away last December 22nd. I hadn’t finished my shopping, but at that point nobody cared. Since my mother-in-law is now living with us, Christmas will be a combination of a lot of different emotions.

  • amy

    Sufjan Stevens’ album is refreshingly melancholy. For me Vince Guaraldi’s charlie brown christmas is also serenely bittersweet.

  • i know you know this is where i am at right now. i’ve been a little absorbed in over the rhine’s “darlin, christmas is coming” song but i listened to it so much last year after my grandpa died that it’s nearly worn out. thank you for posting this.

  • Thanks for posting this, Gretchen. It is so true for so many people during the holidays.

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