(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Finding Beauty in the Holiday Blues
Without fail, it always seems like something tragic happens right in time for the holidays. I even remember one Christmas when my grandmother died. Some people have endured car accidents. Natural disasters. Abuse. Job loss. Whatever the case, holiday cheer can exacerbate the pain we experience, yet also create feelings of guilt for not appreciating the beautiful things God has given us. Depression steals joy, and busyness steals time for that joy.
All these things move us away from Christ because they cause us to focus on the negatives––the things we’ve lost, the things we lack, the things we once loved and now long for. Christ is the focus of the holidays, yet commercialism has stolen his rightful place as the center of Christmas. It’s now all about Santa and presents, and that superficiality contributes to the holiday blues.
Those of us who feel dismal during the holidays most likely desire something more; something authentic. And that authenticity comes through love for Christ. Our appreciation for his birth; our love for others; our devotion to him.
To do this, we must surrender our time––realize that God has everything in His hands, even if that means giving Him blind trust. We must know that His light shines somewhere, even when we can only see darkness. Incessant worry must cease for a bit and find a calm center.
How do we rekindle the holiday spirit? Is it even possible?
Think of all those silly Christmas cartoons where the character slips on ice. They usually fall down quite a few times before they get back up. Now, sometimes they don’t perform any fancy twirls, but sometimes they do. This is the attitude we can adopt. Yes, finding that happiness can seem like a chore, but it is possible.
Focus on your family. Think about the smile on your kids’ faces when they open presents (or your friends, if you don’t have kids). Imagine the feeling of sipping on hot cocoa or coffee as someone reads the Christmas story. Stand in awe of the wondrous gift of grace that God has given through the birth of his Son. Enjoy the snow (or soft sunshine, depending on your area of residence) that God created––the natural beauty that leads us back to him.
Take some time to breathe and appreciate the little things; a house, a family, a car, shoes, food, your phone, music, and more. Make a list of the things that bring joy, and keep those in sight––they’ll come in handy when depression or anxiety hits. Better yet, spend some time in prayer on Christmas Eve or morning and ask God to speak to you in some way that day––for a reminder that good exists.
In a word of evil and selfishness, Christmas seems like a sham. However, if we think of the real reason for the season––Jesus Christ––our hearts can soften just enough for at least a little warmth to invade our souls. Beauty doesn’t always have to shine brilliantly; you can even see a hint in the darkest blues.