The holiday season has just begun. Black Friday is in the rearview mirror. Christmas decorations are going up, and carols are filling the air.
But this season doesn’t feel “merry” for everyone. If you are experiencing a transition of any kind during the holidays, like:
- a period of job loss
- a time when you know you need to find a new job because you have no joy in what you are doing
- your marriage has, or will be, ending
- you recently lost a loved one…
…chances are good that you might not feel very merry. In fact, you might feel empty, frustrated, and hopeless. You might even dread this season.
When times are bad, we often want to hide from others because we don’t want anyone to ask how we’re doing, feeling like we’d rather be alone in our misery.
I understand that feeling because I’ve been there before. Yet the Christmas season is about the one thing we need most: Hope!
God knows we live in a difficult world, full of challenges. He knows we need hope for the future because, without it, we’ll give up.
Yet God doesn’t want our hope to be in the economy, ourselves, or our circumstances. He wants our hope to be in Him. Why? Because He is the only One who can deliver. He is faithful, keeping His promises to us.
So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands. Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. Joshua 21:43-45
God meant what he said to us: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you” (Jeremiah 29:11-13a).
I encourage you to try two things during this Christmas season. Neither of them is as simple as “flipping a light switch,” immediately making you feel wonderful. Yet in doing these things, you will begin to feel greater hope during the holidays.
1. Attend Holiday Events
Resist the temptation to avoid holiday parties and events, acting like Ebenezer Scrooge, and muttering “humbug” under your breath.
Your friends and family need you, and they are watching you, observing how you react during a tough time. It’s especially crucial if you have children — young or old — to set an example by dealing with adversity positively and publicly.
So, during the holiday season, don’t lock yourself in the house and mope. Get out and be with people!
2. Do Something for Someone Else
The antidote for feeling sorry for yourself is doing something for others. It doesn’t have to cost money either. Help decorate your church for Christmas (they always need volunteers), ring the bell for the Salvation Army, or help a friend in need.
Next week is December 6th, St. Nicholas Day. The tradition for the day is to put a surprise in the shoes of someone you love. Try it — you’ll enjoy it.
Remember, our hope is in God. He will take care of you.
He will meet your needs!