Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Isn't Always the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

 photo credit: ~K~ via photopin cc
This is a happy, wonderful time of year. For many, however, it's also depressing, lonely, and dreaded. The sights and sounds that bring joy to you may trigger painful memories for others. 

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. But, because of various circumstances, I struggle to fight off depression during the holidays. "Christmas Blues", I think they call it. But I like blue, and this is more like Christmas Blackness. Sound over dramatic? Not really. Not if you've experienced it. No matter how hard I fight it and try to enjoy the festivities with my wonderful husband and beautiful children, it's always there, threatening to swallow me. Maybe that's why I feel such sadness for others during this season. 

There are so many reasons why this time of year is far from the most wonderful. I'm thinking now of two dear friends who are facing their first Christmas without their husbands; of a little boy who placed a present under the tree for his daddy in Heaven. I'm thinking of friends who are struggling financially but are doing their best to make Christmas memorable for their kids, of senior citizens who are all alone and forgotten, and families who will spend the holiday in the hospital with their sick children. Sure, this is depressing, but it's reality. 

photo credit: peapod labs via photopin cc
It's easy to get caught up in the parties, shopping, decorating and celebrating and forget that some people aren't feeling the joy. This is more common than most of us realize. So, I just wanted to remind myself and anyone else who reads this to remember these things: 

When you post pictures of your loaded tables and fancy desserts, think of those who cry because they can't afford to share special treats with their children. They don't even know how they'll stretch the remaining groceries for the rest of the week.

When you joyfully exclaim on Facebook, weeks before Christmas, that your shopping is already done, and you post photos of piles of beautifully wrapped gifts, remember parents who cry in secret and dread the too quickly approaching holiday because they're struggling to keep a roof over their heads, let alone buy gifts for their children. 

When you go out on a Christmas date with your spouse, think of the those who would love, just one more time, to spend time with their loved one. 

When you celebrate with your parents, siblings, and other family members, remember those who because of death or other difficult situations will spend the holiday alone. Remember their pain and loneliness. Hug your loved ones more tightly. Endure those annoying members of the family with a little more patience. Invite someone who is alone to join your celebrations, or have them over for a quiet dinner.

If you're reading this and you are one of the many who suffer during the holidays, please accept a virtual hug from me. Allow Jesus to bring joy and peace to your heart, even if you don't feel up to celebrating with others. 

We're commemorating Jesus' birth, so let's remember why He came and reach out to the hurting, needy and lonely during this Christmas season. 

Spread joy!