It’s inevitable for most people. We break out of the routine and spend lots of time doing little more than anticipating and preparing for the biggest holiday in our culture. Some of us get energized (and rightfully so. It does celebrate the birth of Jesus and a fulfillment of a promise made so long ago!). But some of us fall prey to sadness on multiple levels. Perhaps this is your first Christmas or Thanksgiving without a loved one. Perhaps it’s another holiday without a spouse or a pregnancy. Maybe you’re an empty nester and the silence of your house is the loudest part of your day. Or perhaps you’re disgusted with the frill and fluff that the world has transformed this important holiday into. We see less and less of Jesus each year. So, what can we do to help alleviate this downward trend?
- Realize that this is temporary. This doesn’t mean your sadness is unimportant, but it does mean that the New Year will begin soon enough.
- Leave the lights on. Winter is, as we all know, usually a literal dark time of year, so it’s helpful to keep your home and your life well lit. Keep the curtains open, light the tree, and let the brightness abound. There is a connection to darkness and a feeling of sadness and gloom.
- Maintain some routine in your life. It’s wise to get up out of bed and not sleep too late (but a little later than normal!). Get dressed and ready for the day. Sometimes being in pajamas till lunchtime can slow us down too much, emotionally and physically.
- Develop a habit of thankfulness. In the morning when you rise, immediately talk to the Lord and thank him for the day and the things that he’ll be doing in your life. Anticipate his work in you.
- It’s important during this abnormal time to maintain a healthy Christward perspective. So, spend time in the morning meditating on the truths of Scripture. This can’t be understated. However, realize it’s a relationship you’re developing not a workout routine. Don’t look at this as an obligation, but as a refreshing conversation with the Creator of the universe, and as a follower of Christ, the book of Hebrews tells us that he invites us to come boldly into his throne room in our time of need! What an invitation!
- Avoid watching the news when you’re feeling blue. It’s still a broken world we live in and pouring too much of this real time tragedy into our minds, can encumber us. In fact, if you find yourself flipping through the channels endlessly, choose to get up and go get a book to read. Engage your mind.
- Get out of the house. Cabin fever gets to all of us. Meet a friend for coffee.
- Stay physically active. Now is a good time to get out and go for a brisk
walk (or a slow one!). Exercise can burn off some of the anxiety, stress and sadness.
- Eat as healthy as you can. Choosing well here can brighten your spirits. But choosing poorly can help push you downward emotionally.
- Know that God is with you. He has said in Hebrews 13:5, “…Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
- Celebrate the birth of Christ. We have the goodness and mercy of God to rest in and that will always be true, in spite of our feelings. He calls us to drink of his Living Water. He always satisfies. Always.
If you find yourself in a downward spiral of sadness don’t acquiesce. Think upward and outward. Go to the Lord and be honest about your struggle. Isaiah 26:3-4 is a good place to spend some time. There we read,
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”
Do something that will take your attention off of yourself. Perhaps volunteer at a homeless shelter or help someone in your neighborhood who might be less fortunate. Maybe consider something like Angel Tree, which allows you to help a family that has a family member who is incarcerated.
Finally, don’t suffer alone if you are blue. We were not created to live a life absent of relationships. Talk to someone and allow them to join you in your struggle. Know that God loves you deeply and is in passionate pursuit of you. Christ was born so that we may live and enjoy intimate fellowship with him. Forever!