This time of year is hard for many people. We’re in the middle of a long holiday season. It starts with Thanksgiving and ends with New Year’s day. While it’s meant to be a joyous time, for many it ends up being stressful and overwhelming. Starting in September we are bombarded with Christmas. It’s in nearly every store you walk into.
This automatically begins to build stress. People realize it’s coming and they start worrying about finances, family situations, and that’s not counting those who are heart-broken due to losses of different kinds. By the time Thanksgiving gets here, we are rushing around. Stores want to do black Friday sales on Thursday evenings, which makes people have to rush through dinners to get the “deals” they want so badly.
After that the Christmas rush begins. There are parties to go to, more gifts to buy, and plans to make. Again, with many people suffering through the pain of loss. Once Christmas gets here, it’s over in a short period of time, then the next week you have New Year’s day. People who have lost loved ones or have broken up or gotten divorces are reminded that they are without the ones they love on a night when couples tend to celebrate together.
After we move into January, around the third Monday or so of the month, we have what has been termed as blue Monday. The so-called most depressing day of the year. Usually because Christmas bills are now arriving. So many people tend to go in debt to celebrate. Credit card companies are the real winners.
What can we do to stop the madness?
For starters we need to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves. We need to do our best to ignore all the early Christmas talk and cut down on the stress before the season even starts. If you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, come up with a way that you can honor that person during the holiday season and put some effort into that. It is very therapeutic If you’re suffering through a break up or divorce plan a get together with some of your single friends or make plans to be with people who are comforting and trustworthy. You never know when you’ll just need to talk about it, and don’t be afraid to talk about it. You’re not going to ruin anyone else’s fun.
If you’re worried about finances then find ways to make gifts or find things you can do for others instead. We put way too much emphasis on gifts. Don’t be pressured to buy expensive things or to buy anything at all. If you like you could even ask that no one buy you gifts, but give to charity instead. Most of all don’t go into debt just to give gifts. It’s not worth it.
Enjoy the food and the family you do have. If you don’t have family or friends that you can enjoy these things with, then take time and volunteer at a place that serves the homeless.
When New Year’s Eve comes, again don’t feel pressured to stay up and do anything if you don’t want to. You are free to go to bed and read, watch a movie or even go to sleep. You do what makes you comfortable. If you absolutely don’t want to be alone, maybe you can be a designated drive for some of your friends.
Probably the most important thing you can do if you are experiences loss or brokenness is to pray. Start covering yourself in prayer as soon as you feel the stress starting to rise. God can prepare your heart for this time of year and help get you through.
Psalms 34:18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
You’ve got that promise from God. He is NEAR to those who have a broken heart. When it feels like no one else understands, he does and he’s near to you. Call on him and he will comfort you with his sweet Holy Spirit. With God you will make it through this. Remember HE is near.
Our own personal losses coupled with the unrealistic expectations of what the world things we should do during these holidays is what brings us so much stress. When we realize there are ways to reduce that, then we’ll sail right on through blue Monday like nothing ever happened. For some of you, it may take time to enjoy this season again. That’s okay. Just know that God is near and it’s perfectly okay to feel what you are feeling.
Father I thank you for your word that says you are near to those who are of a broken heart. This time of year we stress out and for those who have lost its extra stress on top of what they already have. I ask that you would show yourself to them in a special way. Let them feel your closeness in their brokenness. I ask that you would even give joy to them during this time and help them to overcome the depression that tends to set in after the holidays are over. Don’t allow us to conform to the ways of the world and what they expect of us. Allow us to celebrate you in whatever way we see fit. Above all these things I ask that you be glorified in our lives and let others see you through us. In Jesus name. Amen.