This message was written and delivered by Sonya Brown.
Welcome to Whamageddon! There is an unorthodox Christmas tradition of avoiding the song “Last Christmas” by Wham between the dates of December 1 and December 24.
You have been WHAM!’ed if you listen to “Last Christmas” during that time frame. The rules of the game are: 1) Go without hearing the “Last Christmas” by Wham during December 1st to 24th, 2) Cover versions or mixes of the song don’t count as being WHAM!’ed, 3) You can’t send the song to others or play intentionally to get them out of the game, 4) You’re out of the game as soon as you hear the song.
The song “Last Christmas” isn’t your typical Christmas song. The song is about heartbreak and how one deals with rejection. The song carries this eerie tune of desire and obsession. Who knew that this song would be on the top of any Christmas playlist?
Fall is my favorite season and I love to decorate for it. This year, something strange happened to me in early November… I had a strong urge to put up my Christmas decorations. Usually I don’t do that until November 30th . My son asked me why and I realized that I had been feeling hurt and depressed. I wanted the Christmas decorations to bring a little bit of that holiday cheer and festivity early – I needed that warm fuzzy feeling coursing through my blood. He told me that it was just fine to skip the fall season.
This year has been difficult for many of us. I know that a lot of you have had a year like mine. I miss my mom very much and now for the first time have to enter the holiday season without her. It’s difficult to take part in holiday activities due to pain, loss, struggle, brokenness, or heartache. It’s heartbreaking to hear about the wars in Ukraine, between Israel and Palestine. There’s probably financial hardships with the increase in the cost of living and if you started on your student loan payments. Sometimes it seems easier to shield ourselves from these feelings. Also, many people expect you to keep these feelings hidden to avoid a grim Christmas or holiday season because it doesn’t fit in their joyous holiday vibe or the magic of Christmas. Christmas cheer offers us a way to hide from all that pain and if Christmas cheer is being used as a shield, there’s no place for us to express grief, worry, or heartache… these feelings break the magic of the holiday season.
Advent insists we can do better than a cheerful facade that shields us from the real pain in the world – the real pain in our own lives.
What do we miss if we hide particular realities and emotions from this time of year? There could be a mental overload and impossible expectation to make sure everyone has a magical Christmas. You work so hard to express how much you love someone in your gift, the recipient doesn’t cherish your well thought of gift and donates it or regifts it, you find out and now this year you find another who could possibly value your well thought out present. Also, all these online videos provide tutorials of how to transform your home for a magical Christmas – you then try a tutorial and find out that they were not very honest in how to create an amazing tree – now your over budget and it has taken much longer in the project than expected that is nowhere being done. Advent calls us to slow down and remove the illusions that have distorted this season.
Whamageddon jokes aside, “Last Christmas” is one of our most beloved Christmas songs. Could it be that we resonate with that mixture of cheerful music and mournful lyrics? Could it be that, deep down, we realize that just hiding from pain doesn’t heal us?