They say that more people died of Covid this year than in 2020. Inflation and political drama did not improve, nor did consumer confidence or Biden’s approval rating. Uncertainty and a volatile stock market are still with us.
More boosters are being ordered, travel restrictions have returned, and the supply chain is not yet back to normal. The Democrats continue to haggle over budgets and unemployment remains high. Covid politics are raging. Teachers and health care workers are trying to navigate new territory, some losing jobs and others overworked. Argh!
Happy Holidays! Or not. Many people are feeling seriously stressed and depressed, instead of blessed.
Mental health professionals say they are working overtime to keep up with the increased number of people needing counselling. That’s a good thing, that so many are actually seeking help. It’s also a result of the requirement that health insurance cover mental health care and the increased availability telemedicine counseling visits, thanks to Covid. More people are also seeking medication from psychiatrists to manage symptoms.
Maybe you have the bah-humbugs or just not feeling it this year. Even though I am trying to be cheerful, this year just feels so strange to me. I have hardly shopped at all! And I’ve struggled to even think about what gifts I want to give my kids.
For some people, Covid has only made an already difficult season that much worse. For those of you that live alone, aren’t able to be with your loved ones due to travel or illness, or other reasons, my heart goes out to you. I pray that you can find a church or other group to share some specials times with this year.
Is it possible to celebrate Christmas and the coming New Year despite all this? It may take extra effort for some of us. Here are just a few suggestions.
- Remember that Christmas is about reflecting and rejoicing in the meaning of the birth of Jesus Christ, not about parties, gifts, or even being happy.
- Take time, more than once, every day if you can, to just sit and meditate on what Jesus’ birth means to you.
- Use this time to share the good news with unbelievers. Our hope is in Jesus, not a carefree life.
- Don’t try to fake it. It’s okay to just have a quiet December. Many people are doing less this year.
- Look forward to better times, but accept that this year is what it is, tough.
- If you’re up to it, consider bringing joy to someone who might be struggling even more than you. That could be through financial support, social support, sending cards, or volunteering. Or many other ways.
- Go to church and enjoy the special services and music. This is my favorite way to get through this year.
- Drive around and look at the Christmas lights and listen to your favorite music.
- Act like a kid. Watch your favorite Christmas movies in your comfy robe, bake cookies, eat candy canes, and drink hot chocolate, even if there are no kids in the house.
- Be thankful that you are still alive to do these things. Not a guilty type of gratitude, but a real thankfulness and understanding that God has things planned for you.
- Pray and meditate on God’s word and ask him to lift your spirits. Read a devotional book or listen to gospel music or hymns or whatever makes you feel better.
- Remind yourself that even though your faith is not based on feelings, God gave us feelings. He knows we are struggling and He us to trust Him.
- If you are suffering from depression, please reach out for help. I know how hard it is to get help. It can take many attempts to find a counselor or the right medication. Ask someone to help you with the process of finding help. Please don’t give up. Your life matters.
- If you don’t know Jesus, please go to www.gotquestions.org and dig in. This site is very helpful. Jesus really was born to save you.
I hope that you are not one of those who is having a stressed out December. But if you are , please know that I am praying for you and that God comforts those who cry out to Him in faith. God bless you and Merry Christmas.
“And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.”
Luke 1:67-80 ESV
Note: I know that Christmas is a controversial topic for some believers. I respect your beliefs. But the majority of Americans are celebrating the ‘holidays’ right now, and I like to take this time to spread the gospel. All glory to God!