It’s hard to jump into cheer and joy when your heart is hurting. But Christmas is still going to come. How do you get through the holidays if you are grieving or depressed? What do you do with sadness in the holiday season?
What To Do With Losses
To start, let’s talk about losses. What do you do with them? How can you accept them and go on? How do you rebuild when you feel your sorrow so sharply? What do you do with sadness in the holiday season?
I’m going to pull from Scripture to provide practical examples of people who also experienced losses – even despair.
The Apostle Paul had many terrible things happen to him. I’m guessing he didn’t like most of them. In fact, he tipped his cards when he said he was under such great pressure inside – beyond his ability to bear – that he despaired of life, itself. (2 Cor. 1:8) That’s serious, and it’s coming from the great Apostle Paul! He was practicing authenticity by talking about it. He was being honest, counting the severe cost of living in a broken world while living for Jesus.
So What Do You Do With Sadness in the Holiday Season?
Yet, after much thought, sorrow, and prayer, Paul decided God would make up his losses in some miraculous way. This is where Paul’s suffering and grieving begins to shift. This is where he begins to apply positive steps that keep him healthy. He accepted he would not see those restorations right away, necessarily. Yet, he also identified something else that was incredibly important . . . even more important than his sufferings. He realized that knowing Jesus Christ, and sharing life with Him, is more critical than anything else. Whether or not he felt it, he chose to have Christ! He figured out – nothing else is more valuable in life – ever! So, he went after it with all his might by faith.
This same principle is for you as you walk through sadness in the holiday season. Accept you might not see restorations of some things. Remember that in your sufferings, Jesus Christ is sharing your life with you. And you can live your life much more deeply and fully than by your feelings. Draw close to Jesus and share His life back.
A Redemption of Sufferings
One redemption of his sufferings and losses is the millions of people Paul has encouraged over the centuries. You may have a small circle, but you can encourage others in their losses by how you choose to trust Jesus in your own losses.
In Phil. 3:8, Paul says, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.” Then in Phil. 3:12 he says, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Paul knew Jesus would make up to him everything he’d lost in this broken life. So, he trusted God with abandon and resolve. He believed God really “super-cared” about him with a deep, eternal love.
More Help for Sadness in the Holiday Season
There is another writer of Scripture who figured some things out through the hardships of life. His words also help with sadness in the holiday season. He had sorrow, struggled with depression, and even had some weird things happen to him. Yet, he began to see how God interfaces with people as they experience sorrow, loss, and suffering. David, the shepherd, king, and psalmist said, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Ps. 34:18)
That principle is for you as you work to manage your sadness. Jesus is close to your broken heart. He promises to save you as you experience the crushing of your spirit. Please – believe this. Hold onto it. Draw close to God and let Him comfort your heart.
Then later in history, the prophet Isaiah talked about Baby Jesus. He said Jesus would come “to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” (Is. 61:1-3)
Jesus wants to comfort you, to provide for you, to give you a crown of beauty instead of ashes. He wants to anoint you with His oil of joy this Christmas and bless you with His garment of praise. Will you let Him do these things?
Jesus really cares about your losses. Your depression. The state of your heart. Your sadness in the holidays. He wants to help you through in a healthy way. He also wants you to make good choices to be a healthy person. If you will trust Him and wait on Him, He will heal your hurting heart. He will give you hope again and help you build a future. Hold tightly to the Lord this Christmas.
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