For some of us, this just ain’t the “most wonderful time of the year.” In fact, as the extended holiday season winds down, we’re left to wonder if the inexplicable dread of these holiday blues will end with the silly revelry engulfing the dropping of a ball that rings in the new year.
Rest assured, many people struggle with restless nights and days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Absent are visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. There are no urges to chime in with melodies of fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la. ‘Tis NOT the season to be jolly.
Though we are conditioned to optimistically view the holidays as a time of happiness and joy, the experience for many of us can be painful. It can be filled with anxiety, depression, loneliness, and sadness. In addition, the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) points out that those with prior mental health conditions are more prone to respond more negatively to the season, with 64% experiencing worsening conditions.
There are plenty of reasons why we stress out during this season. First, we experience a lack of sleep due to hectic holiday schedules. Second, excess eating and drinking at gatherings distract us from our regular dietary practices. Third, financial stress creeps into our lives as we overextend ourselves to afford gifts for family and friends. Fourth, isolation and loneliness haunt us if we cannot be with loved ones, whether separated by death or distance. Finally, the unrealistic expectations of the season for sustained happiness burns the fuel of our existence.
The climax of our holiday season is the birth of Jesus Christ. To combat the darkness and despair shackling so many of us at this time, we remind you the light of Christ shines brightly and offers hope. Our Redeemer came into the world to save us from brokenness and suffering. So, we invite you to welcome our Lord’s embrace.
While New Year’s Day is traditionally observed as the close of the holiday season, it is also the First Sunday of Christmas this year. The Christmas Season (twelve days of Christmas) continues until the Epiphany of our Lord, January 6th, the day we observe the magi from the East presenting gifts to our Lord. For this reason, we recognize that the holiday season continues; therefore, we remain mindful of those grappling with the blues. We invite all, especially anyone struggling emotionally, physically, or spiritually, to join us for our special “Blue Christmas” healing service on Sunday, January 1st at 10:15 AM. This worship service, starting about ten hours after the silly ball drops, can lift your spirits.