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Blue Christmas (What to Do When the Holidays Hurt)

Don’t be fooled by the calendar. Today is in reality just another day, even though the trappings and the framing may make your feel otherwise. Release yourself from the expectation to have some magical Christmas conversion; some George Bailey, It’s A Wonderful Life Moment. If this season finds you less than alright, be that. You don’t owe the calendar anything.

Don’t be fooled by yourself. Despite how it may feel, most of the pressure on you to be happy is usually an inside job. Since you’re the only one who truly knows the depth and scope of your sadness, and the only one who’s fully walked your road, you’re probably beating yourself up the most about this blueness that others may not even see. Don’t be complicit in your own debilitating guilt trip. Go easy on yourself.

Give yourself permission to scale back or downsize or opt out. There are times and places during the holidays where the hurt is amplified, and you may see them coming; certain gatherings, parties, people, activities. Don’t feel as though you need to do and be it all and continually put yourself in harm’s way. Balance your desire to give others normalcy now with your very valid need to protect yourself. Step away from the fray when you need to.

Embrace this Christmas as-is. You may be overwhelmed and bruised this season, but there is still goodness to be welcomed and blessing to be claimed here, even in the pain. There will be holidays in the future when you will feel stronger and lighter, and these very difficult days are part of the road to them so accept whatever gifts they have for you. You may not fully open them for years.

And above all, friend, know that it’s OK to be blue this Christmas.

It really is.

So be blue, but be greatly encouraged even still.

Happy (though hurtful) Holidays.  

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I am a father of two, (Noah and Selah), and husband of one (Jennifer); a 17-year ministry veteran, specializing in rabble-rousing, engineering mayhem, and generally trying to live-out the red letters of Jesus.