By Corey Baumgartner
Christmas, a time of peace on earth and good will towards men. However, even during this iconic season of remembering and rejoicing, the holidays aren’t always holy or happy. That doesn’t mean you have to be grouchy like the Grinch, or expect coal in your stocking, but it does mean you may have to steel yourself for the normal nuances, stresses and distresses of this holly, jolly—or not so much—Christmas season.
There’s also the hotly debated and misleading “Christmas Suicide” myth. Perpetuated by the belief that suicides spike significantly during this most wonderful time of the year. The assumption is that because sadness and loneliness seem to be more pronounced during this Christmas season, suicide is a person’s only option for opting out of their personal pain. It is not their only option and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other online sources agree that while it is a myth—suicide, sadness and loneliness are not myths. My heart goes out to anyone who feels alone, abandoned, or forgotten during this season or any other time of the year.
While it seems everyone else is singing Christmas carols, buying presents and having visions of sugar plums, many silent nights go unnoticed. The familiar carol, Silent Night, has a different meaning for those whose nights are far from silent. When all is not calm, and all is not bright because of angry voices, terrors and tears. When it’s difficult to sleep in heavenly peace because one feels broken in pieces. When there is a longing for the presence of loved ones in their hearts and home, instead of presents under the tree. When there is an aching and longing for the silent sounds of being alone to be chased and replaced with laughter, I-love-yous, and stories about the good old days.
Even if you’re having what Elvis Presley calls a Blue Christmas, remember that you are also the reason for the season. Whether you celebrate the Christ in Christmas, or share a heartfelt Happy Holidays. Whether you believe in God, Santa, or just want Christmas to hurry up and get over with, know that your life always has great worth. I may not be able to hold your hand, give you a hug, or remind you personally, but please don’t give up on yourself or your life.
If you know someone who is alone, struggling, or hurting, don’t wait to share some Christmas joy with them. If you need help getting through your own Christmas blues, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Whether you need a meal, a miracle, or both, there are still good people in this world who can and want to help you. If you’re in trouble, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or (chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org). Closer to home you can find the Cedar City Care and Share (www.careandshare-ut.org) and the Bread of Life Community Kitchen on Facebook. Have a safe and Merry Christmas.