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And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
So wrote the genius that is John Lennon in his anthemic “Merry Xmas (War is Over)”. There is a message here. It is not solely a Christian message; it touches on themes that are close to all of us and come to the forefront during the Christmas Season.
“So this is Christmas” … Lennon captures the feeling that Christmas has come upon us once again, and we face both the joys and challenges of the Season.
“And what have you done?”… It is a time of year we pause to reflect on our selves over the past year.
“Another year over, and a new on just begun”… The world has turned, a year has passed, and we find ourselves facing another Christmas. It is almost a challenge; a time to take stock and to judge the moral merits of the person we have been, and the person we will come to be.
“And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun”… ‘Tis the exhortation of the Season – Eat, Drink and be Merry! But I detect in Lennon’s lines a certain sadness. He hopes people enjoy themselves, but only hopes this because he knows there are people who may not have fun at this time.
“The near and the dear one, The old and the young”… Lennon reminds us of the wide importance of the Christian message to all kinds of people.
It is a beautiful song.
But I am drawn back to that ambiguous line, “I hope you have fun”. I look down to the song’s second verse, where I find the line “The World is so wrong”. The world is so wrong. Inequality, violence, selfishness, greed and corruptible seed seem to be all that there is.
So, I come to the intended message of this blog.
For many people, Christmas is not a time of happiness but one of sadness, dislocation, isolation and anger. There are many people – and many people with lived experience of serious mental illness – who are not closely connected to family and friends. People who will go without Christmas cheer, celebration and connection.
Some of these people are experiencing the residue of policy failure – the asylums closed, they moved to the community, but are not given adequate support. Some may be too unwell to leave their houses or apartments. Some may simply have nowhere to go.
I encourage you all to listen to Lennon’s message of a recurring time for self-analysis, a time to spread joy, and a time to recognise that the world may be so wrong but we can still try, every year, to make it that little bit better. For those without mental wellness, and for all of us.
Season’s Greetings, to one and all!
Dr. Richard Schweizer, Policy Officer at One Door Mental Health firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dr Richard Schweizer - Photo Credit news.com.au