When it’s NOT Merry & Bright

This week has been Merry, the country has eased restrictions, the virus numbers are at record lowest levels and people are surely having the Most Wonderful Time of The Year!

Yet, I was really not feeling great, the week gone by was by far the most troubling, most annoying and most disappointing. I asked myself if this was something only I am experiencing? Then I discovered this interesting survey:

Almost 65% of persons struggling with mental illness find the holiday season making their conditions worse.

https://www.nami.org/Press-Media/Press-Releases/2014/Mental-health-and-the-holiday-blues

I believe that I am not having mental health issues (!!!) and yet, true to what I said, I am finding the holiday season challenging. I have experienced feelings of sadness or dissatisfaction and faced unrealistic expectations. If I went back a few months in time, I am reminded of happier times in my life compared with the present and just like me, I am very sure that many people struggle around us during this season. The demands of the holiday season — including the pressure to spend money, cook, bake, clean, socialize and make the season as festive as possible — can be overwhelming.

I think about it and agree that it is important to be easy on myself. I must not worry about living up to expectations that come with the holiday season. I must not internalize the message conveyed in holiday movies, songs and greeting cards. I certainly agree that I must not preoccupy myself with how things should be. My thoughts rest on the stary night…..

It’s also a silent night in the hill-country by Bethlehem. Nothing can be heard other than the snoring of sheep and other shepherds. Shepherding is a lonely profession, they are socially separated from the rest of the community. And then, on that particular night, a bright light suddenly appears with a host of angels telling these shepherds that they bring good news of great joy that’s for all people!

Today I felt like the shepherds, socially separated and, just like those shepherds, we have this awesome invitation to rejoice over the miracle of Christ’s birth. It doesn’t matter who we are or how we feel — the joy of Christmas is for everyone: the rich, the poor, the happy, the lonely, the forgotten, and the greatly loved.

As we meditate on Scripture and listen to all the Christmas carols, let’s take a moment to thank God for the joy that is freely given to us because of a Savior who was born for all people.

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