Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
The holidays are just around the corner. For some people, that thought spurs exciting memories of beautifully decorated tables filled with scrumptious meals, festive shopping trips, extended family time, brightly wrapped gifts under a tree. For others – especially those who deal with depression - the holiday season is a very difficult and dark time that is to be endured rather than enjoyed.
According to the American Institute of Stress, more than 110 million Americans take medication for stress-related causes each week, but during the holiday season, another one million people battle what experts refer to as the "holiday blues,” and many more struggle with true depression.
Many people try to understand and deal with depression on a surface level – refusing to face painful experiences, difficult relationships, and the broken places where darkness lives. We look for the nearest exit, hoping to bypass transparency because the price is just too much to pay. We must be real - before we can be right. Until we are willing to risk being transparent, we can neither understand nor effectively deal with depression during the holidays or any other time of the year.
The holidays seem to tug at the masks we carefully hold in place. The arrival of family members can resurrect painful issues that have never been resolved. Financial pressure opens up like a sinkhole waiting to devour our joy and destroy our peace. Schedules demand every ounce of energy and false expectations leave us empty and hollow. It is not supposed to be that way. Now is the time to do something about it!
Thanksgiving can be a time of praise… if we choose to focus on the victories and joys, we have experienced during the year, and then find ways to share that victory and joy with others. Christmas can be a true celebration of fresh starts and new beginnings, if we choose to focus on a tiny baby born in a manger, come to save us and give us true life. The light of His love can swallow up the darkness.
Get ready for the holidays by choosing an attitude of joy, by focusing your mind on the things of heaven – not earth, and by letting God’s peace guard your heart.