Not a merry Christmas?
Christmas is a time of joy and celebration for many people, but for some of us, it can be a difficult time. We might have lost a loved one and this is the first Christmas without them, or it might be our first Christmas alone, away from family and friends. Sometimes, the happiness that everyone else seems to feel just reinforces our sense of loss and sadness. There’s no quick fix. Processing what we’ve lost takes time and God’s sustaining grace. But here are some insights to help: 1) Don’t be unrealistic in your expectations. If we’re struggling, there’s nothing wrong in reaching out for help. We don’t have to do everything ourselves. We also shouldn’t feel pressured into struggling to create a ‘perfect’ Christmas. If we’re not feeling up to doing the things we’d normally do, we shouldn’t feel guilty, or allow others to make us feel that way. 2) Try taking the focus off yourself. Reach out. We could see if there’s a needy family or a hurting friend who’d enjoy spending an hour with us. It won’t solve our problem, but it might help to have something different to focus on for a while. Helping others can be therapeutic and can help us get our perspective back. 3) Start some new traditions. Doing things the same way might stir up memories that make us feel worse. Sometimes doing something differently can help us get through a difficult time. 4) Spend time with God. ‘The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ Let’s reach out to God this Christmas and ask Him to exchange our sadness, loneliness, or brokenness for His peace.
If you’re struggling this Christmas, try some of the points in the reading, especially the last one. If you know someone who’s struggling, reach out to them this Christmas and see if there’s anything you can do to help them.
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