REASONS FOR A MELANCHOLY CHRISTMAS
Melancholy Christmas is not a phrase we like to associate with the holiday, but unfortunately, for many it’s a sad time of year. Moreover, it is more common than we like to think.
We automatically think of loss as the primary reason for sadness during the “best time of the year.” However, there are other reasons for a melancholy Christmas, e.g. unrealistic expectations, blowing our budget, or family troubles, Let’s take a look at all of these starting with Loss and Illness.
MELANCHOLY CHRISTMAS REASON # 1: LOSS AND ILLNESS & RESOURCES TO HELP YOU ALONG THE WAY
Losing a loved one is certainly a common cause of sadness during the holiday season. A missing person at the table, their laughter, their help with the preparations, etc. When you celebrate or participate in a particular activity or tradition that was special to the one who passed, it inevitably makes us sad.
Don’t feel guilty. Even if it has been years you still miss your loved one. Talk about the person who is gone and let people know it is ok for them to discuss their memories. In fact, for most people it helps. See below for some resources that might help, including one that specifically serves those who lost a child. Of course, see a counselor if more help is needed.
BLUE CHRISTMAS SERVICES
Some churches hold services for those who are sad at Christmas, called Blue Christmas services. Churches conduct these at different times; however, mostly they are held on the ‘longest night’ of the year – December 21st.
In my local area I was unable to find a service, but you can certainly use a search engine to see if there is a Blue Christmas service in your area.
Also, there are Blue Christmas events on YouTube. You can check out the one below or go to Youtube.com and search Blue Christmas services.
THE COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS HELPS THOSE WHO SUFFERED THE LOSS OF A CHILD
This is not a Christian organization, but as far as I can tell it is not anti-Christian in its mission. There is a lot of information on the website. Click here to read one of their blogs about surviving the holiday.
Compassionate Friends conducts an annual CANDLE LIGHTING event world wide on the second Sunday of December.
If you are reading this article at a time when it is too late to participate during the current year, you can still check out their website for local chapters and use their resources to help you during difficult times. Of course, you can join in the lighting service next year.
New Zealand is the starting point at 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM local time. As
MELANCHOLY CHRISTMAS REASON # 2: UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Expecting people, activities, or even Christmas to fill our hearts is an unrealistic expectation. Only God can truly fill our hearts and expecting other things to do so only prevents us from seeking God for fulfillment.
Romanticizing our childhood Christmases also creates fanciful expectations. As a child, it all seemed magical. After all, we didn’t deal with the hustle bustle, shopping, wrapping, delivering, baking, cooking, and general preparations. We just enjoyed the food, fun, gifts, and time off school.
So lower expectations. It is a short season and Christmas is only one day! Keep important traditions and memories alive and leave the rest go.
MELANCHOLY CHRISTMAS REASON # 3: BLOWING OUR BUDGET
While finances can cause stress throughout the year, the Christmas season exacerbates this problem. All the additional expenses put a strain on our budget, and we often feel a need to compete with family and friends in the gift-giving arena. Spend less and don’t be troubled if you receive a gift that costs more than what you gave. Give from the heart.
Steer your family towards a more Christ-centered Christmas by doing some of these Advent ideas. Read the Biblical account of Christmas on Christmas Eve and do some type of devotion prior to or right after Christmas dinner. Check out Carol Your Way Through Christmas for one fun devotional idea.
MELANCHOLY CHRISTMAS REASON # 4: FAMILY!
This melancholy Christmas reason is a big one. Forced family get-togethers during the holidays can cause stress and sad feelings. The gatherings may be uncomfortable, volatile, or silent. Not all families look like a Hallmark card or act like a Hallmark movie. On the contrary, no family looks or acts like Hallmark, thus we suffer from unmet expectations once again.
Divorce is another problem. Trying to figure out the “new normal” for the holiday, e.g., sharing time and juggling all the activities of two families can cause us to be resentful and sad at the same time. Christmas post-divorce was a difficult time for me. And surprisingly, screaming, “I want my life back,” didn’t make things better!
Plan ahead and minimize the time spent with people who try our patience or make us feel bad about ourselves. When things get heated, don’t engage. Stay neutral by acknowledging feelings without agreeing; then change the subject.
Remember you don’t know what other people are going through. Physical, mental, emotional problems with their children, worry over parent issues, marriage tension, lack of job security, etc. Try to be kind without bringing yourself down too.
MARY’S MELANCHOLY CHRISTMAS
Let’s face it the first Christmas was no picnic either. Mary’s pregnancy caused quite a stir and surely she faced scorn in the community. A required census forced Mary to travel with Joseph to Bethlehem, and upon arriving at her destination there is no room at the inn. Thus she gave birth in a cave and places her new son in a feeding trough for animals.
SHE ACCEPTED GOD’S WILL despite what must have been a confusing and troubling time. Trusting God and knowing He knows best and is in control brings contentment and peace. (Luke 1:38)
SHE SPENT TIME WITH A GODLY MENTOR whose name was Elizabeth. Spend time with the people who are believers and understand your sadness. Seek their guidance and wisdom. (Luke 1:39-45)
MARY PRAISED GOD despite the hardships ahead. Force yourself to spend time in praise and thanksgiving and keep an eternal perspective. (Luke 1: 46-55)
THIS YOUNG WOMAN KEPT GOD CLOSE TO HER HEART. “Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” She pondered God’s will and ways during these challenging days. (Luke 2:19)
OBEDIENT TO GOD’S LAWS AND WAYS, despite the circumstances. Mary and Joseph honored God, by following the God-ordained circumcision, offerings, and traditions. We too should continue to obey God by spending time with believers, Bible study, and service.
Hopefully this post is helpful in some way to the readers who are understandably sad this Christmas. I wish you a faith filled, Christ centered Christmas.
If you have any information or resources to share or want our readers to pray for you this Christmas, please share in the comment section below. And if you want to become part of the Women Seeking Christ community, click on the heart to subscribe. We never sell or give your information to any other entity, nor will you be inundated with emails. I post about once a month.