Ask Jonathots … December 8th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog


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What do you think about the idea that people get depressed during the holidays? Do you believe in “Blue Christmas?”

The diagnosis of depression is applied to everything from copouts to extreme physiological disorders. It is a shame that such a legitimate concern is rendered questionable by people who simply want to feel sorry for themselves.

So when we talk about depression, we’re referring to three different regions of human behavior:

  1. Fear of the afar
  2. Fear of our surroundings
  3. Fear borne from a chemical imbalance within

So when dear hearts come to us and say they’re in no mood to celebrate Christmas because it leaves them sad, it is important that we listen to them and decide if they’re expressing some apprehension about the world around them, some feeling of a lack of appreciation by those they interact with, or whether the recent concern about the holidays is aggravating what seems to be an ongoing thread in their lives.

Those who are involved in conspiracy theories or worry about what’s going on in our world can often be comforted with good cheer, a sense of well-being and the knowledge that someone cares for them.

Others who are disappointed by their surroundings or who have been subjected to mistreatment are often healed right before our eyes by a spirit of gentleness and kindness.

And those who have physiological roots for their depression need our encouragement to see a doctor so they can feel better.

So during this holiday season, when you run across people who are expressing misgivings, start with some good cheer and give them a listening ear, and see if that doesn’t lift their spirits.

If it does, you are like the angels on high, who declared “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

But if your attempts at healing still leave them feeling empty, you might use your holiday joy to encourage them to seek an answer and find out the source of their depression within.

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The Real War on Christmas… December 22, 2012



The early followers of Jesus of Nazareth were isolated and persecuted. They had no homeland–no sympathetic government. They were considered to be a fleeting, temporary cult. Therefore, they had no holidays. All the holidays available around them were salutes to gods, goddesses and emperors who were NOT born in a manger in Bethlehem.

These Christ instigators developed the philosophy of redeeming the time. Instead of complaining about their low status on the totem pole, they took the existing celebrations and used them to worship, appreciate and commemorate moments and traditions in their own faith. In so doing, because of things like governments toppling, religions crumbling and just the passage of time changing circumstances, these rag-tag believers ended up inheriting almost all of the holidays.

So Christmas, which for most of its existence, was more or less a feast (which did, at times, lend itself to a bit of debauchery) has become, over the last 150 years, more sacred, more worshipful and more reverent than it ever was in its inception, when it was an explosion of carnal pleasure saluting Mithra.

So all of this fuss–this so-called “war on Christmas” because some geeky atheist in upstate New York wants to file a lawsuit because of a nativity scene in the town square–is utter hogwash. If you’re looking for the real war on Christmas, that conflict is being waged by the very religious system which should be supporting the celebration of the birth of Christ.

First of all, let me make one thing clear. I do believe in the church. The church was Jesus’ dream of a world connected by a great idea through a Golden Rule, and that we could transform the fallen state of affairs gradually through the Spirit to more resemble the Garden of Eden of our origins.

But the church has been overtaken by a religious system which was founded in the style of the Roman Empire and therefore is more interested in relics, traditions and the maintenance of coffers than in the idealistic pursuit of spiritual fulfillment. Let it never be said that I am anti-church–but I am against a religious system that would love to take the joy of Christmas over the birth of the Prince of Peace and focus on turning it into either a “Blue Christmas” or a “Bloody Christmas.”

Let us start with this pseudo intellectual–and recent, I may add–journey which has been taken by religious leaders, to provide comfort and sympathy to those who either don’t like Christmas or are finding themselves experiencing their first December 25th without a loved one, a job or family. We cannot take the joy, meaning and importance of this experience called Nativity and spend one minute trying to dilute it so as not to offend a handful of people who need to understand that sometimes we celebrate on behalf of others instead of licking our own wounds.

I do it every time I go to a shopping mall. Because I have bad knees I am in a wheelchair, but I don’t roll in amongst my walking brethren, bitching and complaining about their presumptuous trodding about. I celebrate them. I worship God that I am still able to be among the living and participate. The more briskly they walk, the more I appreciate the gift they’ve been given and my opportunity to still be a part of the human tribe. You do not overcome depression during Christmas by bypassing the unique opportunity to be surrounded by “good tidings of great joy.”

The second war on Christmas comes from the religious system which is in a desperate hurry to break apart the manger cradle and quickly turn it into a cross. Many of them will not even give us one moment to appreciate that God’s original idea was for the world to receive His son, not to crucify him. The heavens would have rejoiced if mankind had accepted the message from the Sermon on the Mount instead of marching the sermon-teller up a mount and killing him. So they turned Christmas into a bloody holiday. They want the baby to become the lamb of God instead of the sweet promise of God’s love for mankind.

For after all, Christmas was God-ordained. It is Easter that is man-made. It is manking which decided to reject His hope and put nails in the hands that came to heal them.

Yes, the true war on Christmas happens in the pews, as we remove part of the great happiness of the season, supposedly in deference to those who are choosing or experiencing blueness. It also is diminished by religionists who can’t wait to get Jesus to a cross.

I love Christmas. It is a reminder to me that if I accept the birth of true mission, then I don’t ever have to die in the hands of my own stupidity.

Be smart. Atheists will never destroy God, because privately, they want God. Otherwise they wouldn’t spend so much time fussing about it.

Christmas will not be taken apart–because everyone needs it. But we should be careful that we are not pushing the baby away from the “inn crowd” and leaving him out in the cold. There’s nothing to be blue about–even if it’s a sad time for you. Celebrate the joy of others. It’ll do wonders for your soul.

And let’s not crucify Jesus so soon. Let’s at least give him three months to make things better.

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The “Blah Factor” … December 10, 2011


For the past two weeks I’ve been traveling from town to town under the banner of “A Spirited Christmas,” presenting a program of music, humor, silliness, stories, inspiration, entertainment and thought-provoking ideas. It has been great fun.

Last night I landed in a location where they were advertising a service on December 21st called “Blue Christmas.” It’s a time of commiseration for those who are depressed during this holiday season due to financial set-back, loss of family members, memories of bad holidays, unemployment or other alleged reasons for being disgruntled.

I was offended.

Perhaps “offended” is not the right word. I have grown weary of seeing our society curry to the lowest common denominator in an attempt to appear caring, all-knowing and expansive. Believe you me, if I thought depression had any value, I would encourage the members of the club. If I believed that the Bible was sympathetic to those who find themselves disappointed. I would lavish them with mercy and kindness. And I do believe there is a time when people are wounded and they need a good cuddle. Yes–a big hug.

But the Bible says that “weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Notice the lack of an in-between step? There is no “season of reflection,” recovery, or retreat from life’s journey. We get over it and allow joy back into life.

I do NOT think we help people by allowing them to wallow in their fear, apprehension and sense of desperation. I have a brother who claims to have been depressed for twenty-six years now and is even on disability because of it. When I suggest to him some ways that he might be able to become a functioning part of society again, he becomes enraged and calls me “ignorant” because I do not understand the height and depth of clinical depression. Here’s a clue: if you know WHY you’re depressed and WHAT is making you upset and HOW it occurred and might even have an inkling on how to get out of it, it’s not clinical. Clinical depression would be a chemical imbalance which takes over your personality without you totally understanding the reasons for it.

I know it is posh, liberal and even considered to be knowledgeable to come across tender-hearted to those who are suffering in their own minds, but I don’t really think it is loving. Yes, I do think we need to cuddle people who are hurting during the Christmas season, but we have entered a realm where we are coddling them–erroneously allowing them to continue to be out of the loop–and ever expecting to escape their status.

We are a people who have enough “jungle” inside of us that we only admire those who overcome adversity–not those who are overcome by it.

We may throw a shout-out of grace their way, but we expect the weeping to cease very soon–and the joy to arrive.  Are we wron”? Or is the errent behavior manipulating people by keeping them weak, making ourselves appear stronger and open-minded?

I do not believe in holding a service called “Blue Christmas” where people can come and sadly explain wh,y during this “good will towards men” season, they have chosen to check out. After all, no one should have been more depressed than a pregnant teenager under ridicule for claiming that her baby was conceived by God, traveling to a strange town to be taxed along with her new husband who was equally bewildered, only to arrive in the community and have no lodging anywhere but in a barn.

This is a story of common people overcoming. I know the passable philosophy of our time is to allow folks to be depressed during the season that provides the greatest capacity of escape from bondage. I will not participate.  Because if you coddle people, they grow accustomed to the attention and soon their personalities curdle. Yes–they sour on life because it is a great way to maintain an identity without actually identifying themselves.

I know there are those who have suffered devastation, disease and tragedy in their recent history. It is difficult to imagine going on. But when God came across Cain, who was greatly upset because his gift was not accepted, the Almighty did not coddle him. He said, “Why are you angry? Why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying at the door, ready to eat you alive.”

When are people more vulnerable than when they’re allowed to be depressed–and in the process may welcome in much worse demons?

So give people a cuddle. Give them a hug and buy them a gift. Present them with a candy cane. But when you coddle them and tell them that depression is an acceptable option, you will end up curdling their personality and producing sour individuals who eventually have no capability of finding the sweetness in life.

I just don’t believe that we fail to minister to those who are hurting by encouraging healing.

I think people are tired of being frustrated. And if you’ve been “dissed” at an appointment, you need to be encouraged to make another one–otherwise despair will set in and you will be at the mercy of the worst devils of your nature.

So a big “phooey” from me for “Blue Christmas”–and I, for one, am sick of the blah factor being presented as not only a personal choice, but gradually a preference in our society. Cry your eyes out for a night.

But you know you’re finding your way … when joy comes in the morning.


Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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