Holidays got you down?
The holiday season is a notoriously difficult time for many. As believers, we even pile guilt upon our already not-so-wonderful feelings because of the gap between how we actually feel and how we think we should feel. Whether you are stressed out over your Christmas To Do List and schedule, mourning the loss of loved ones, worried about paying for presents, or unhappy with your life circumstances, sometimes “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”...well, it just doesn’t feel so wonderful.
I get it. I’ve totally been there.
After my mom suddenly passed away, the thought of celebrating anything was simply unimaginable. Honestly, I had trouble just focusing on conversations and trying to breathe regularly. The mere thought of doing my normal decorating was exhausting. Planning perfect presents had long been one of my greatest joys, but malls and shopping sites that once seemed merry now looked gaudy and overdone. Christmas carols sounded so loud and sappy; they were just too cheerful.
Death complicated my Christmas.
My mom adored virtually everything about Christmas, so it was (and still is) impossible for me to not miss her even more than normal at this time of year. Yet, as a committed Christ-follower, I know that Christmas is not about my mother dying any more than it’s about a beautifully decorated home or presents under the tree. Christmas is about Him coming.
Life is messy for all different reasons...even at Christmas. I’ve tried a lot of things in an effort to deal with the messy while still celebrating the miracle of Jesus coming.
If you find yourself feeling not-so wonderful, here are two ideas I’m confident can help you:
BE GOOD TO YOURSELF
Make realistic expectations for this season and don’t set yourself up for more sadness. You don’t have to decorate/shop/party/celebrate/bake like “normal.” As long as your choices are healthy, it’s fine to do something different this year. Share your real feelings with a good friend, trusted advisor or counselor. You don’t have to fake happy feelings. Surround yourself with people you’re comfortable with and who are positive. Sleep and eat well. Soak in the bathtub. Pace yourself. Move and get some fresh air.
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
I’ve found that if I do not control my thinking, it will begin to control me - how I feel and act. That must be the reason God’s exhorts us with this in Philippians 4:8.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
I think the key here is in the original Greek word for “think.” It doesn’t mean to just have a happy thought, but to consider, weigh, and meditate on. It means to determine, purpose, and decide. And it refers to facts, not to a belief or theory.
Decorate your world with reminders of His promises and character (these are facts!) to help you consider and meditate on the Philippians 4:8-ish things in your world. Carefully consider and even memorize verses that directly speak to issues weighing you down – financial concerns, broken relationships, grief, etc. Write His Word on your mirror, hand, and wherever else you’ll be looking throughout the day. Write out lists of reasons you have to be grateful when messy emotions threaten and thank Him often.
Bottom line: Meditate often on the truth of God’s Word to keep your head on straight.
Whether or not this season feels wonderful, the glorious truth is that Wonderful is WHO He is. In the midst of your messy, I pray you will experience Him more deeply than ever before.
Meet the Author!
Bible teacher, author, inspirational speaker and disciple-maker, Vickey is passionate about helping women connect the dots between God’s Word and their everyday lives. She loves serving as Women’s Ministry Director at Council Road, celebrating her people, playing with her puppy and getting lost in a good story.