Pastor Jerry McGhee
We are just days away from Christmas, a time that is supposed to bring or cause “great joy.” It is a time when we who claim the merits and righteousness of Jesus Christ as our own, ought to be celebrating great truths and witnessing to great hope. But the fact is that during the next few days millions of Americans, including many believers, will not be celebrating great truths or expressing great hope; they will be gripped by what psychiatrists and psychologists officially call the “Holiday Depression Syndrome.”
So powerful and destructive is this experience that our law enforcement agencies and mental health professions, tell us that domestic violence and suicide increases during the holiday season. The holiday blues are related to unreal expectation, unfilled expectation because too many people tend to idealize and romanticize this season of the year.
Years ago, I heard of a little girl whose family was so busy that none of them had time to read to her a bedtime story. That night a family member heard her saying her bedtime prayer: “Dear Lord, forgive us our Christmases as we forgive those we Christmas against us.”
Perhaps your circumstances have not yet reached such a level of intensity, or perhaps you have never fallen prey to the Holiday Depression Syndrome, but for those of us who do find this season of the year a little hectic, may I suggest a few ways to survive the Holidays.
1. Try to remember past holidays without the expectation of always repeating them. We have changed; the times have changed, and our families and friends have changed.
2. Rather than focusing our attention on what we give or receive as gifts turn your attention to what you already have: God’s Grace and love through Jesus Christ. If we expect or receive nothing else, we are blessed. All else will be a welcome surprise.
3. Set priorities and limits on your schedule. Learn to say, “No, thank you” to some of the many invitations to go to a Christmas musical or party. Eat properly and exercise. In other words, take care of yourself and the season of the year will indeed have meaning for you.
4. If you do not have a scheduled time of prayer and reading of the Bible, this season of the year is a good time to start. A few minutes of focusing on your spiritual life is good for the soul, and will help prevent the Holiday Depression Syndrome.
Sun Lakes Community Church has services every Sunday at the Sun Lakes Chapel, 9240 E. Sun Lakes Blvd. N., at 9:30 a.m. Website – www.sunlakescommunitychurch.org.