What is this girl talking about? How can anybody be sad during the most magical time of year? It’s “Merry” Christmas for goodness sakes! What could possibly cause a heart to stress during the happiest holiday? I hear ya. I do. But stick with me for a bit because I think there is a good chance that you too have experienced some holiday melancholy.
There is a quickening that begins around November 25th-ish, that tends to just speed up until culmination on December 25th, it’s the silent buzzing, like electricity rushing to do more, faster. An underlying current if you will. It says go faster. Buy more. Get more. Cook more. Invite all of them. Go everywhere. Be everywhere. Faster still. One more gift. One more string of lights. One more event. One more party. One more cookie. Still time for more. Cram a bit more. Squeeze in everything. All the while there is an unspoken expectation of perfection. Everything not only must be done but must be done perfectly!
There are presents to buy! Multiple trees to decorate (you know who you are, you two or more Christmas tree people)! Relationships to mend! Family gatherings! Holiday parties! Caroling! Traveling! This undercurrent of voices (worldly voices usually coming from commercials, TV ads, social media but can also be a well-meaning best friend or neighbor) tell you that it’s okay to put it on a credit card even though you are already over your eyeballs in debt. This same voice says you must be seen at every party and gathering. Don’t even think about avoiding the mile-long line of screaming children, out-of-patience parents waiting to take the yearly Santa pictures. If your house is not Griswold worthy don’t even bother, I mean, what would people think?!
This, my friends, is what leads to the Christmas blues; a feeling of defeat, a slight depression, disappointment and failure that takes over where the cheer, peace and joy of the holidays should reside.
December comes and goes and reality sets in. Things weren’t perfect. Your credit cards are maxed. The new had-to-have-stood-in-line-for-four-hours toy is lying broken in the trashcan. You’re staring at your outdoor Christmas lights knowing they will still be there come Valentines. Your home is a wreck, or maybe it’s the inside of your car from the countless trips to see family and friends. Your brother is still not speaking to you. You are tired, nope that would be an understatement, you are exhausted and all you want to do is cry.
Does this sound familiar? I hope and pray that you have not and are not experiencing this but if you have or are I want you to know two things. First, you are not alone. Second, it doesn’t have to be this way, there is hope!
By changing the direction of our focus we can change the outcome of our emotions during the Christmas season. If you are like I was you are seeking perfection in the holiday, in the parties, in the family gatherings, in the cookies, decorations, trees and presents. Everywhere perfection is not and avoiding the only place true perfection can be found.
In a manger.
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12 (NIV)
Peace is found in Christ!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)
Please don’t get me wrong friends. I don’t think Christmas lights or gifts are wrong. I don’t see anything wrong with having more than one Christmas tree. More power to you. Ain’t nobody got time for that over here but you go right on with yo’ bad self! There is neither a thing wrong with wanting family gatherings to go well or working on mending fractured relationships. As long as your expectations are in the right place and that you can use these things to point back to Christ then enjoy yourself. Stop putting undo pressure on yourself and rest in Him! Set your eyes on Christ and rest your hope in His hands. When we are putting Christ at the forefront of our thoughts, our actions are more likely to represent Him and in turn our feelings of failure, imperfection, disappointment and stress tend to fade away and be replaced with peace, love and joy.
About the Author
I am a wife of 10 years to a hunk-of-a-hard worker who lovingly puts up with my quirkiness. I am also a home-schooling mommy to three gorgeously amazing little girls who keep my laughing. Most importantly I love the Lord with all my heart, soul and mind. I would love to tell you that I have been loving and serving the Lord all my long days but that’s not quite my story. We will save that for another day! I will say that I am now one of “those” people; those people who are so desperately seeking Jesus that they are willing to be “weird” and do things that the world sees as unconventional for the sake of His kingdom. I would also love to tell you that I do that perfectly every day but that would just not be true. But I do get completely lost in His love and grace for me and my continual three steps forward half a step back life.