3 Ways to Find Hope When Christmas Feels Hard

Christmas is no longer my favorite time of the year.

Some of my fondest and most precious memories with my family are during Christmas. But when my pawpaw died everything changed. Watching his favorite movies doesn’t feel the same, giving gifts doesn’t feel the same, nothing feels the same. His absence is a huge hole in my family. And even years later, it can feel like we are falling apart.

Check out this song that encouraged me and made me see the classic song “O Come O Come Emmanuel” in a whole new light.

I could say a lot about what this song stirred in my heart but if I could only choose a few words, they would be, “God is so good.”

Maybe Christmas is hard for you not because you lost something, but because you never got what you wanted in the first place. If you have some unanswered prayers, listen to this testimony:

I want you to know you aren’t alone in your pain and there is still hope. Here are 3 ways to find joy and peace in a difficult holiday season:

1) Ground

Ground yourself on the promises of God. His word is eternal. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And all of His promises are good! It’s something you can always depend on. Here are a few promises to get you started:

God gives you strength – “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I  will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” | Isaiah 41:10 NLT

Nothing can separate you from God’s love – “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” | Romans 8:38 NLT

God will never leave you – “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” | Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT

2) Surround

We were not made to do this life alone. At the very beginning of creation, God didn’t want Adam to be alone, so He created Eve. Even if it’s just a phone call, a text conversation, or a simple meal with someone, connecting with others can help when we are mourning or hurting.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)

3) Found

Instead of looking at what you lost or never had, look at what you found. This one is probably the most difficult to accomplish. And it will look different for everyone. You can acknowledge the hurt and all the bad parts of life, but don’t stay there. This can be something as simple as a song that brings a smile to your face, or good memories, or the family that you have.

Here’s a prayer I’m praying over anyone who is reading this right now:

God, please give us peace that surpasses all understanding. In all the holiday chaos and busyness, help us slow down and see how You are still working in our lives. Help us trust that when we are hurting, you hear us and will never leave us. Thank You for your protection, rest, and love. Amen

Even though my family has changed, in who we are and in what our holiday traditions look like… God never changed. And His plan is always good.

Now there is new life. My cousin has a healthy baby girl, and some of our family will reconnect this year after much hurt and unforgiveness. When I thought my family was broken, God picked up all the pieces and put us back together.

So if you feel like there is no hope and think that Christmas is going to hurt, here’s the truth:

It’s still going to hurt. But in your pain, God is right there with you. He loves you. He sees you. He cares about you.

A Christmas Prayer
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