Monday, December 22, 2008

Feeling Kind of Blue

Are you feeling a little blue this Christmas? Not Smurf blue, of course. Deep, dark, depressed blue, blue clear down to the bottom, blue no matter how bright the twinkling lights or how sweet the holiday tunes. Blue even when all the world seems to be celebrating.

Why so blue? It could be lots of things or nothing you can put your finger on. Take your pick:
  • unrealistic expectations
  • unresolved grief
  • past hurts remembered
  • unwillingness to forgive
  • loneliness
  • financial pressure
  • dissatisfied with job, career
  • disillusioned with life
  • fearful about the future
  • unable to accept God's grace
Wow. That's enough to get anybody down. So, don't be too hard on yourself if you are feeling blue. You've got your reasons, that's understandable. But don't stay there, don't grovel in it, don't settle down and soak in it. Let's move on, move out, move up from the pit of depression, just high enough to gain a new perspective. It's painful and it's difficult, I know. I'm not naive and I have fought my own bouts with the blues. And I know firsthand how bright the new day dawns.

Scot McKnight tells the story of Vincent van Gogh and the color yellow: "This famous Dutch painter, sadly, tossed away the truth imparted him in his Christian home and sank into depression and destruction. By the grace of God, as he later began to embrace the truth again, his life took on hope, and he gave that hope color.

The best-kept secret of van Gogh's life is that the truth he was discovering is seen in the gradual increase of the presence of the color yellow in his paintings. Yellow evoked (for him) the hope and warmth of the truth of God's love. In one of his depressive periods, seen in his famous The Starry Night, one finds a yellow sun and yellow swirling stars, because van Gogh thought truth was present only in nature. Tragically, the church, which stands tall in this painting and should be the house of truth, is about the only item in the painting showing no traces of yellow. But by the time he painted The Raising of Lazarus, his life was on the mend as he began to face the truth about himself. The entire picture is (blindingly) bathed in yellow. In fact, van Gogh put his own face on Lazarus to express his own hope in the Resurrection.

Yellow tells the whole story: life can begin all over again because of the truth of God's love. Each of us, whether with actual yellows or metaphorical yellows, can begin to paint our lives with the fresh hope of a new beginning."

4 comments:

Shane Vander Hart said...

I didn't know that about Van Gogh. Thanks for sharing! I hope you had a Merry Christmas!

willohroots said...

This morning I was almost Purple!
I too must concentrate on the yellow that is to come, Thanks.

Wm Clark said...

I appreciate your thoughts on a problem that raises it's head almost every holiday season and I agree with you.

I just have one favor Drew. Don't confuse "being blue" with being "depressed".

Depression takes you far lower into the darkness than you can imagine. it is a disease that holds you down and it is more than difficult to pull yourself out. At the holiday season, depression takes you even further down.

Kim said...

Do you know the resource McKnight used for his information on Van Gogh and the color yellow?