Dealing With Christmas Season Stress And Depression

“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”–Proverbs 12:25

Christmastime…we think of lights, decorations, and snow. Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman are all over the TV. We hear Christmas Carols, like Jingle Bells and Winter Wonderland, on the radio. And…we see the sales advertisements, in flyers, newspapers, on TV, and on the radio too.

We all are bombarded at this time of year. We are constantly being challenged to step up and purchase that 'perfect' gift for the one we love, to make sure our kids have the most up to date electronics, toys, whatever! We are pressured to perform in the 'Olympics of Christmas shopping'. If you don't partake in Black Friday shopping, you are considered 'weird'. And if you cannot afford to buy the very best of everything for your family, you are 'less than'.

With the high rate of unemployment, and simply with the rising costs of just living these days, many families cannot spend the kind of money we hear that everybody is spending. And with that situation, we very naturally become depressed and oppressed. Some will spend their last dime that they do not have to purchase the big ticket items. They must 'keep up with the Jones's'. Then they will wrestle with how they will pay for what they bought. Others will not be able to buy big for their loved ones, and as a result will sink into depression, heartbroken that they are failures. Yes, that's right. Parents feel like failures if they cannot lavish fancy gifts on their kids. And isn't that in direct contradiction to what Christmas is all about?

Our society does all it can to perpetuate the myth that Christmas is about spending. It uses the attractiveness of cheeriness, laughter, joy, music, sleighrides, sledding, snowball fights, and family gatherings to further that myth. So if we cannot fit into the mold of what Christmas is supposed to be, then we consider ourselves failures.

But God has a different idea of what Christmas is about. It is about the birth of Christ, our blessed Savior. It is also about the gift He gave us that continues to give…life, love, Heaven. It is all about kindness, about caring for one another, and showing it. It is indeed a time for families to come together and lay aside all that has been important to them, good and bad, throughout the year, and just BE families.  It is about worshipping our God, and His Son, and about showing the love of Them to everyone we meet.

Don't allow the world's standard of joy at Christmas to ruin your Season. Don't worry about not being able to buy your kid a flat screen TV, or the latest iPod, or the most recent version of xBox. DO think about what they need most…love. Focus on the things you CAN provide, and most of all on what God would have you do to celebrate His Son's birth. Love your loved ones, and love them some more. If you can buy small gifts, and provide a nice meal, then you have all you need, if you have Jesus in the house. He is the Reason for the Season after all. Bring that special Joy into your home, into your heart, and into the hearts of those you love, and those you encounter. Show kindness to all you meet, and the Christmas Season will become real in your heart and the worries and anxiousness from the pressures to 'perform' will disappear. Not just yours….but also for others. It's a promise from God. Your kindness and smile may be all someone else has for Christmas. And once they have it, they can pass it on to someone else. It's called a blessing!

It's not Happy Holidays…it's Merry CHRISTmas! And I wish it for you and yours!

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  1. Omalinde said:

    May I reprint this article for our monthly newsletter for December?

    November 8, 2011
    Reply
  2. I certainly have no problem with that. As long as it is ok with EverydayChristian, and I believe it is, that is fine with me. Please give me a link to your newsletter, Omalinde. I would love to take a look at it! Be blessed!

    November 8, 2011
    Reply
  3. Omalinde said:

    Thank you. I am the Parish Nurse at Trinity Lutheran Church in Gresham, OR. The current newsletter for November is on the web site (which is undergoing some changes just now), but you can access it at trinitylutherangresham.org and click on “Newsletter”. The December newsletter will come out I believe Thanksgiving week, and your article will be in that one. Thanks again. Linde

    November 9, 2011
    Reply

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