Holiday Melancholy?

Holiday Melancholy?

Dear HLPC family,

January 20-21, 2023 we will be hosting a conference on C.S. Lewis.  Our speaker will be Dr. Jonathan Rogers who is a published author and has written and spoken on C.S. Lewis.  He also happens to have grown up in Perry, Georgia and is the uncle of our own Christina Hall and my daughter-in-law, Mary Ross. 

Jonathan recently distributed the following essay through his weekly newsletter “The Habit Weekly” that I wanted to share:

Last night my wife Lou Alice got to talking about the melancholy that she has often felt during the holidays. For most of her life, she said, she assumed there was something wrong with her when she didn’t feel as hap-hap-happy as she thought she was supposed to feel during the happiest time of the year. Were her joy receptors off? Was she just ungrateful?

When she became a mother, that holiday melancholy translated into a kind of overachievement; she worked herself to a nub in an effort to make sure nobody had to experience the holiday sadness she was so familiar with.

But in the last few years Lou Alice has come to understand her own holiday melancholy differently: it’s a reminder that we all long for a joy that is deeper and fuller than a holly jolly Christmas. That melancholy is a clue, a signpost.

In her book Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ (a book I heartily commend to you), Fleming Rutledge writes,
“Even as the season outside gets more exuberantly festive, those who observe Advent within the Christian community are convicted more and more each year by the truth of what is going on inside—inside the church as she refuses cheap comfort and sentimental good cheer. Advent begins in the dark.”

Advent is not only a time to imagine what it would have been like to await the first coming of Jesus. It is a time to acknowledge that we do await the second coming of Jesus. Advent begins in the dark and moves toward the light. (In two weeks the days start getting longer—praise be!) Here in the bleak midwinter, it is appropriate to take stock of the truth that we really do need a Savior. 

If you experience melancholy this time of year, I hope you’ll consider the possibility that your holiday melancholy is not a bug, but a feature.
Your Pastor,
Paul Bankson

Paul was born and raised in Birmingham, AL and graduated from Auburn University in 1986 with a degree in Business Administration. It was at Auburn that he met his wife, Connie. They were married in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and moved to Jackson, MS where he attended Reformed Theological Seminary graduating with a Master of Divinity in 1991. Upon graduation, Paul served as a Campus Minister with RUF, the campus ministry of the PCA, at Tennessee-Martin where the Banksons lived for 5 years. They moved to Macon, GA in 1996 to work with RUF at Mercer University and then Paul joined the pastoral staff at First Presbyterian Church of Macon as an Assistant Pastor in 1999. In 2004, Paul and his family moved to Warner Robins where he served as a church planter and then organizing Pastor of Houston Lake Presbyterian Church. In December 2014 Paul completed a Doctor of Ministry degree through Reformed Theological Seminary of Orlando. Paul and Connie have three sons, Andrew (23), Stephen (20), and Matthew (15). Paul enjoys grilling, camping with his family, and Auburn sports (War Eagle!).