When You’re Sad at Christmas Time
Merry Christmas, dear friend! How are you? How are you really? I want to know. So often we greet each other, and the answer is supposed to be: “I’m fine,” or “Great!” We don’t want to share more, and the other person most likely does not wish to hear how we truly are. We’re all busy and in a hurry.
Well, I’m going to break the ice, and share what I’ve been feeling and how I’m learning to cope with those feelings.
A couple of weeks ago I was feeling sad and a little downhearted. When you are single, no husband or children, Christmas can be a time of reflection and questioning. Was I wrong to focus on ministry instead of marriage? I think about this, but I come back to the truth: I have had a very adventurous and fulfilling life as a single missionary in Japan and then as a single woman living here in the States. I am content in the Lord, but sometimes when I’m feeling lonely, I wonder what if…
Also, my parents are gone as well as an aunt and uncle and both of their sons, my two cousins. Our families enjoyed celebrating the holidays together. Christmas is just not the same with these loved ones not here anymore.
Maybe you can relate to what I’m saying, or you might have other reasons for feeling melancholy this Christmas season.
If you have small children, you may be very excited about Christmas and all the activities. What is more fun than to see your child play an angel or Mary or Joseph in the church Christmas program! Maybe this doesn’t apply to you personally. You may have a friend who is feeling sad, though.
One short sentence with three different meanings has helped me cope with my feelings:
1. You’re not alone. Others are feeling the same way. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and share how you’re feeling.
A co-worker and I were talking. How we both were feeling came up in the conversation. She was also feeling sad. Then I heard others were feeling the same way. I knew in my head that other people would be sad during the holidays, but I was still feeling alone. Then talking with others helped. I had to come out of isolation and speak my feelings. I’m not alone. You’re not alone either. Share with someone how you’re feeling.
2. You’re not alone. Though many loved ones aren’t here, look at the ones who are with you. Love on them. Invest time and energy in their lives.
I’m concentrating now on the family and friends that are here. I have a sister and cousin nearby and two nieces that I love dearly. And friends. And I am a CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate) for a foster child. I am blessed to know her and support her.
3. You’re not alone. Jesus, our “Immanuel” (“God with us”), is here. Seek comfort in Him and not in the trappings of Christmas—spending money, gift giving, and all the food. Not saying, don’t enjoy the gifts and food. What I’m saying is, don’t let them distract you from Jesus and don’t use them as distractions from your pain.
As I focus on Jesus, worshipping Him, adoring and loving Him, I sense His comforting presence. Tears may not be far away and easily spill over at a memory or at a scene on TV that touches my heart. I am thankful for being able to grieve and to have the comfort of the Lord.
Dear friend, we are not alone! May the glory of Jesus’ birth fill your heart with joy and wonder. I love and appreciate you! Thank you for joining this Grace Breakthroughs Journey. 2016 is going to be an adventure!
Please leave a comment about how you are feeling and how you cope at Christmas. Your words may be the encouragement someone else needs.
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