The medieval philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas has a remarkably humanizing moment among the many pages of his masterwork the Summa Theologiae: remedies for sadness. Among these oft-blogified remedies are weeping, taking baths, and sleeping—all delightful to find among densely-packed pages of medieval Latin—but I think the most important remedy Aquinas offers is “contemplating the truth.” I’ve always found this to be strangely accurate: when I’m sad, being drawn out of my own thoughts to something outside me never fails to lift my mood.
For some of us, myself included, this may be a bit of a blue Christmas. But I’ve found that many of my favorite Christmas songs emphasize something that can draw me out of sadness—the contemplation of the truth, re-seeing the mystery of Christmas as something new. I’ve always loved the rarely-played carol “I Wonder As I Wander” for its mysterious lyrics:
I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
That Jesus my Savior did come for to die.
For poor on’ry people like you and like I
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.
It’s a good year to embrace the mystical side of Christmas—to wonder at the joy that takes over the whole world this time of year, to wonder at the history of a festival making its way down through the centuries, and, if you’re a Christian, to wonder at the birth of God. Let these songs help you see the mystery anew.