My soundtrack as of late has been this playlist I created of autumn piano tunes. They’re soft, they’re contemplative, and they’re a wee bit melancholy.
All things I could say of myself.
It’s taken me over thirty years to be okay with identifying as a joyful melancholy, but that is exactly what I am. I love a moody song. Grey days and the early sunsets of late fall and winter are my jam. I incline in the direction of Eeyore in my sighing and slight pessimism. I’m particularly gifted in dreaming up worst-case scenarios. My humor bends towards wry. I’m a writer, and melancholy spurs my inspiration.
I’m also an Enneagram four, and they say we’re made of melancholic stuff. So really, I’m right on track.
All that is true. But there is still joy in my heart and sparkle in my soul. The love of Jesus lights me up, especially when I’m talking about the love He has for His daughters. I’m not a sad or downtrodden personality. I smile far more often than I frown. In high school, my nickname was Smiley.
I rock the grey space that stands between the black and white of joy and moody. Because of that, November is my month.
The days are cloudy and grey, the skies dark by 5pm. We’ve started hunkering in at home, giving into the dipping temperatures and pull of the couch and a good book. We’re cooking comfort food; the slow-cookers are unearthed and the ceramic stockpots are back in rotation. It’s soup season. Root vegetables are appearing on countertops, and twinkle lights are strung. We’re thinking about dipping our toes into the holidays, maybe wrapping a gift or two here and there.
November is the perfect in-between month. A time to prepare and putter in the kitchen. A time to gather in and come together. A time of expectation of what’s yet to come and thankfulness for what has been.
The calendar says November, and my heart says holiday season.
Now, when I say holiday season, I mean the entirety of the holidays which, for me, start in September with back-to-school and go through January 1st. So, as far as I’m concerned, we are smack dab in the middle of holidays right now. In our home, we celebrate the holidays in a big way. We don’t mix them up or clump them together — there are no two-fers here! But sometimes the Christmas tree is up before Thanksgiving. Sometimes the pumpkins come out in August. Maybe it’s because I worked at a Hallmark store throughout high school and college, but I don’t mind Christmas in July. Or October. Or November. Or February. I just don’t feel like there needs to be a defined season of joy, or a timestamp on peace, or a cutoff on cheer.
Jesus didn’t arrive with a “Do Not Open Before 12/25” tag. He came for us all, all the time. In the grey days of November. In the summer heat of August. In the slushiness of March and the blossoms of May. When we’re looking for Him and when we’re running from Him. When our hearts are soft and open, and when they’re hard and closed.
In all seasons of the year and of our lives, Jesus comes for us.
Whether your week includes gathering for Thanksgiving with family and friends, mundane days at the office, a kid who has come down with the flu, or decorating for Christmas, you can celebrate everyday grace, the kind that delivers no matter what. We can celebrate everyday gratitude, no matter our circumstances. We can celebrate our God, who was both born holy and grew up experiencing the everyday that we live. A paradox in and of Himself — the Holy of Holies wearing everyday flesh — what an amazing God.
As we welcome the holiday season, it’s okay to be our whole selves — melancholy, joyful, or a mix of both. He welcomes us wholly at any time, in any space, in all of our seasons.
p.s. If you want to put your tree up, listen to a Christmas song, or just use peppermint mocha creamer in your coffee, go for it. You’re in good company.
We can celebrate everyday gratitude, no matter our circumstances. -@annaerendell: Click To Tweet