When the Holidays Hurt

For most of my life, Christmas was the very best thing that could happen to a person. I spent most of December in blissful anticipation of the 25th, and anyone that didn’t share my views was labeled “Scrooge” or “Grinch.”

How could people be unhappy when there were lights everywhere? What’s sad about listening to Christmas music? How could you be lonely when there were dozens of holiday parties to attend?

But somewhere along the way, I began to realize that it’s not the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. Life hits hard, and the holidays can make those blows especially painful when your world is not as merry as everyone else’s.

Life hits hard, and the holidays can make those blows especially painful when your world is not as merry as everyone else’s. #waynation Click To Tweet

The lights only remind you that the year is almost up and that insurance is about to start over.

The music feels forced when you’re barely functional amidst ongoing depression.

The parties only remind you that you’ll be returning to an empty house once again.

Whether there’s an empty chair at your table this year or just a big, gaping hole in your heart, I get it. The holidays hurt.

This photo was taken a few Christmases ago right after one of my husband’s major surgeries, and we’re now facing our 4th Christmas in that less-than-merry place as he continues to battle chronic illness. Where Christmas used to bring celebration, it now brings stress, uncertainty, and a lot of presents held together by medical tape.

And I know how I’m supposed to feel: peace on earth, a thrill of hope, joy to the world…. But real talk? I feel so far from any of those things.

I can’t find peace because I’m facing some really tough decisions in the new year.

I can’t find hope because I’ve been burned too many times in the past.

I can’t find joy because that sounds like a lot of work.

So let me tell you what I’m desperately clinging to as I make it through another Christmas season: Emmanuel.

Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.” -Matthew 1:22-23

God is with us. He is with us when we’re putting on a happy face to hide our loneliness, and He’s with us when we cry in our car on the way home from the Christmas party.

There’s something freeing in knowing that I don’t have to have it all together during the holidays. Even when I can’t wrap my head around the Christmas season, God is with us. God is with me. Jesus was born into mess and meets us in ours every single day—no matter how painful it is.

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Carmen Faith
Carmen Faith
December 11, 2019 12:43 pm

Hi Bekah- Beautiful article, thank you for sharing your journey. Your transparency and obedience to Christ is inspiring. If you have a moment, check out my brother-in-law Todd. Over 20 years ago, he was diagnosed with cancer, Parkinson’s, myasthenia gravis and more. The doctor’s kept telling him he would die. Today, he is experiencing healing – miraculous healing! Our family is overwhelmed with God’s manifesting promises. I share this to encourage you – keep claiming and proclaiming God’s promises – keep praying and praising. If you’d like more on Todd’s story, visit https://www.facebook.com/theblessedovercomer/ or search for The Blessed Overcomer: The… Read more »

Donna Pauley
Donna Pauley
December 15, 2019 4:22 am

Life is hard. I have struggled with depression since I was about 13. Shame and despair walked with me for years. Even now, my doctor wants me to go to counseling instead of switching up my medicine. It is embarrassing to be treated like a freak. Or I am faking it. I pray they figure out what is going on with Joey. No one wants to be sick physically or mentally. We can rest in the knowledge that the Lord knows how hat we face and He gives us comfort.

Pastor Dave
December 17, 2019 2:54 pm

Bekah, I continue to learn so much from you & Joey. Thank you both for your spiritual grit and determination to believe in the dark (still). Nancy & I pray for you both nightly … praying for miracles, praying for His close presence each moment, praying for your encouragement, the list goes on!

Lyle Reid
Lyle Reid
December 11, 2019 9:30 pm

My wife dealt with barely detectable to progressively more and more severe symptoms for 5 months before getting diagnosed with ALS. She lived 6 months after that, and has been gone for 3 1/2 years, now. And, if I’m brutally honest, the whole thing basically really sucks (pardon my vulgarism). But, we used the experience God allowed us to go through to minister to others. And, in the midst of it all, we still knew joy and a certain amount of peace, because we knew that God had promised a healing for my wife far beyond her being able to… Read more »

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