Christmas depression? But “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” familiar Christmas lyrics to a song made famous by Andy Williams, and written in 1963 by Edward Pola and George Wyle. It’s a bouncy song that evokes the feelings of a happy holiday season. I’m guessing if you’re here on this website reading this article it’s not even close to being a wonderful time of the year.
What it feels like when life changes and Christmas becomes depressing
What feelings are you wrestling with? What has brought you here? Maybe you’re like me and wondering what happened that changed life so much. Christmas was a time for our small family to get together and celebrate as a family. Some 35 years later my family is fractured and scattered. My grandparents have all gone “home”. “Home” is heaven. Eternally present with Jesus where there is no more pain, crying, nor tears. My aunt is gone, too. She was lost too soon to heart surgery complications. My sister and I no longer speak. My first marriage failed and I have to split the Christmas break. The family gatherings around the Christmas tree have gotten smaller instead of bigger.
Now there is pain. Now there is hurt that seems to fade but never really goes away.
Are we on common ground now? Can you trust that I don’t write from a place of perfection, or that I’m a “sunshine” Christian…you know, someone who never goes through any kind of problem or affliction?
During this Christmas holiday season let me offer you some words to hopefully help.
The first case of Christmas depression: The difficult family times during Christ’s Birth
The Christmas story is often portrayed as a quiet night when a woman gives birth without pain to a baby in the middle of the night. Shepherds show up, so do the wise men, angels sing, then everyone leaves and it’s a Merry Christmas. Peace on earth. The Bible states that this is not the case.
In the first chapter of the book of Luke, we find out that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a young woman who had an encounter with an angel, who told her that she would give birth to a son and call his name Jesus. Mary was engaged to Joseph, but they observed Jewish law and were not intimate before marriage. The angel said that she would become pregnant anyway. Here’s Mary’s reply according to the Message Bible:
“Mary said to the angel, “But how? I’ve never slept with a man.” (Luke 1:34, MSG)
Supernaturally Mary conceived and became pregnant. Folks, this was scandalous. Joseph nearly lost his mind. His fiancée was pregnant with a child that clearly wasn’t his, and he was upset! He knew Jewish law said that if Mary became pregnant outside of marriage, then she should be stoned to death! He loved her, and didn’t want this to happen to her. God didn’t either.
In the first chapter of the book of Matthew we learn that Joseph thought about quietly divorcing Mary, but God had a different idea:
“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:20, NIV)
So, to recap; pregnant teenage girl engaged to be married to a working-class carpenter, but an angel appears to both Mary and Joseph and says “This is all God’s idea.” Not everyone gets this as a warm fuzzy story. Not even Joseph and Mary. They lived it. They lived with the scorn, with the whispers behind their backs, and then…they have to travel. Mary is 8-9 months pregnant and they have to travel a long ways. They get to their destination, Bethlehem, and all of the inns are full. The motels are all out of rooms. Mary goes into labor. There is no hospital. No ER. No paramedics or EMS. Joseph helps deliver his son in a barn.
No family. No friends. Strangers show up to celebrate the birth of this baby: Shepherds…the lowest classed citizens of the day. The wise men didn’t show up on the night of his birth. They likely came calling when Jesus was around 2 years old. But here is a scared young girl with a new baby, and her husband who is trying to wrap his brain around this whole scene. Society treats them as outcasts.
A baby is born out of wedlock to a young girl. No cameras. No media coverage. The world really didn’t care. The world didn’t care that Mary and Joseph had to rough it. The world didn’t care about this baby.
You are not alone
Do you think anyone cares for you? Do you feel like an outcast? Are you scared? Alone? Are the holidays anything but happy? You’re not alone.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5, NIV, emphasis mine)
“The thief only comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV, emphasis mine)
“But these things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31, NIV)
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13, NIV)
“You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other.” (Deuteronomy 4:35, NIV)
“For God so love the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17, NIV)
He has come that we might have life. We are not alone, no matter the day. The baby born to the scared young couple is the author of life, and he is here for you to give life and light. He is light in the darkness. He is life. And Jesus loves you.
This Christmas, let the light come in. Let Jesus give to you life that is eternal; it will never end. His love for you will never end. It is the greatest gift in the world and no one can ever take it away.
Christmas Depression Prayer
“Jesus, whether today is Christmas or any other day of the year, I need you. I need you to be my light and my life. Connect me with you today. Be near me when I feel lost or alone. I know that you are God. My life isn’t easy, I believe that your life wasn’t easy either and I believe that you understand where I am now. Please help me. Let your love surround me. Breathe your life into me. Light my way. In your name I pray, amen.”
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