Let’s face it, life doesn’t stop just because Thanksgiving and Christmas are upon us. The situations and circumstances we may find ourselves in don’t go away just because the calendar says it’s the season to be merry. For some folks the past year has brought challenges and heartache they didn’t expect and because of them they are in some way really hurting.
How do we handle the holidays when we hurt?
This may surprise you, but think of others first. Yes, you hurt. Yes, this holiday season may be more challenging for you than ever before. However, those around you need to experience the joy of this season. Rather than sinking into a deeper depression over your circumstances, choose to make this the best holiday season for others that you possibly can. You may be amazed that what you sow in your pain will come back to you in added joy for yourself.
Second, refuse to dwell on your situation. Yes it’s there. Yes, you wish things were not as they are, but you can choose what you focus on. Pain is difficult to overlook so this takes both faith and discipline. Faith that the Lord is working all things together for your good in some way even though you may not see or feel it at present. Discipline to cast down the negative thoughts and emotions that seek to ruin the reason for the season.
Third, give yourself a break! Don’t condemn yourself for feeling the way you do as that only adds to the hurt. Pain is real whether it is physical or mental. The Lord understands and will allow you to curl up in His lap and cry when you need too. Great faith is not the denial of hardship, but rather the willingness to keep walking from the darkness and into the light.
Fourth, do not be afraid to seek help if the feelings are overwhelming. Strong Christian friends, pastors and counselors are there to help. You are not a burden to them, but rather a joy when they know they have helped you get through.