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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Music, Christmas and Divorce...a recipe for healing

Christmas Carols, Mall Music and the Hallelujah Chorus!

So, just got home from practice at church for a Christmas musical presentation.  They do a really nice evening service with the choir singing a cantata, and bring in instruments for an accompanying orchestra…..I have both attended and played in the orchestra (nobody wants me to sing in the choir---especially those who have heard me sing!).  ANYWAY…..

As I got back home and was thinking about the music, it occurs to me that I haven’t mentioned anything about music, Christmas and divorce on the blog.  There really are some huge points of contact.  Probably I should clue you in to the fact that I am a sentimental sap, and it definitely impacts my perspective.  I remember so many times just after the divorce, when Christmas music would play on the radio or off the CD's, and sometimes it was all I could bear to let it play through the song.  Some of those Christmas songs that promise Christmas with that special someone ring so hollow in the time after a divorce.  Some of the songs bring back memories of family times that have now become a part of the past instead of the present….memories that can be pretty painful.  And some of the songs kind of spit in your face…especially that first year after a divorce….songs about the joy of the season and the wonderful time Christmas is….songs that simply do not match the emptiness of a broken heart.

On the other hand, some of those songs will serve to remind you that even though your marital world has changed, there is a constancy in life, tradition and God, that remains in spite of the changes.  People will still wish us A Merry Christmas, Christmas Eve remains a Holy Night, Santa will still need that red nose to guide the sleigh, and Snoopy will share a drink with the Red Baron while the Christmas bells ring.  There is such a wide variety of moods and meanings in the Christmas music, and, for me, the Christmas movies. 

So if you are one who is mourning the loss of a marriage (or maybe even the loss of a spouse or loved one), may I suggest that you allow the music of this season to be a vehicle for inner healing.   Allow the emotions they evoke to guide you through some of your inner struggles, hopes, fears and joys.  Let the tears flow when you hear someone sing that they long to have Christmas with that special someone or carolers come with Christmas wishes to a lonely widow (I really like that song).  Let some of the fun songs take you back to happier times, when reindeer hooves made clicks on the roof, or when you try to keep straight how many lords go leaping and how many dancers are dancing.  Some can bring you back to the core of what the holiday is really about, perhaps as you listen to Handel’s Messiah, or remember the midnight clear in the little town of Bethlehem.  And maybe you can find some new song you can claim as your own in a new chapter of your life……I’m always big on the Chipmunks, the Jingle Dogs, and Michael W. Smith’s Christmas recordings.  (In fact, some of the songs, such as poor grandma with her reindeer collision, are only allowed when I am in the house by myself.) 

In fact, I ran across a pretty nice idea in my own devotional readings the other day.  Carol Knapp, a writer for the Guideposts Devotionals, suggested finding a phrase in a Christmas song that has meaning for you, and allow it to be the theme of the season for yourself.  The example she used was the phrase “wonders of His love” out of “Joy to the World” as a phrase that really helped her one year reflect on Christmas in a new way, and see God’s work in the world around her as she prepared for Christmas.  Maybe you might want to adopt her idea….it’s a pretty good one, I think.  Anyway, the angels sang, Mary sang, Elizabeth sang, and every generation of Christians have sung of Christ’s birth ever since that incredible birth in the manger.  Find a way to join them and sing as well (even if you have to do it where nobody can hear, like I do!).  Well, I better get practicing.

TL:dr  Christmas music can be God’s tool for God’s grace in your soul this season.


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