Christmas can be a time of great highs and lows. On one hand, it’s a time of celebration for many. At the same time, it’s a season of struggle for others. While some are delighted, others are depressed.
Why do so many people struggle with depression at Christmas? While there are undoubtedly many reasons, I suspect that much of the internal darkness is linked to the way Christmas reminds us of our losses and our loneliness.
For those who’ve lost a loved one, Christmas doesn’t feel the same. There’s an empty chair at the table and emptiness in their hearts. For others, Christmas surfaces the loneliness they submerge most of the year. All the talk about “going home for Christmas” can heighten a sense of aloneness in those who are geographically or relationally distant from family or friends.
Christmas raises our hopes and longings for love. When those hopes seem dashed and those longings go unfulfilled, Christmas leaves us struggling with depression rather than celebrating with delight.
But there is light in the darkness. There is hope that won’t disappoint. And it’s found in retracing and embracing the true Christmas message.
The good news of Christmas is that God has come to be with us. The Bible tells us that Jesus was born as the promised Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). And the word “Immanuel” literally means “God with us.”
Jesus brought the presence of God into our world on the first Christmas. He demonstrated the love of God by dying for our sins and rising from the dead. Now He promises to bring the life of God into the heart of everyone who receives Him by faith (John 1:12).
Jesus can meet our deepest longings for love. Not just at Christmas time, but all year round.
(This article is published in That’s A Good Question by Rick Reed)