Christmas–A Depressing Time of Year?

It seems like every year around this time I get down and sometimes depressed.

Last year I was definitely depressed: my husband found out the day before Christmas he would be laid off in a week.

This year, I’m just down for whatever reason.  It’s the time of year I look back and look at my goals and see how little I’ve actually accomplished.  Mainly, it’s my writing/professional goals that have fallen short and, being this is what I believe my purpose to be (besides being a wife and mother first), it’s very disheartening.

Yet, good, unexpected things have happened as well:  BSF and this blog that has taken off to heights I never imagined.  I’ve learned a whole lot from the Bible I’ve never learned before.  I’ve read quite a bit of the Bible (although haven’t finished it yet).  Read some good books.  Discovered some new music.  Wrote some good books.  Became healthier and stronger and hopefully a better wife and mother.  Discovered I actually liked homeschooling and miss it.

It’s probably the Devil coming against me–as always at this time of year when our Savior was born.  When things are going good, he steps in to try and take you down.

So, I’m going to power through these last few weeks, shake off some annoying things around me, and continue in prayer and thanksgiving for all of my blessings.  I’m going to force myself to honor my social commitments (when all I really want to do is crawl into my heated waterbed with my two mangy old dogs and a good book), school commitments, spiritual commitments, and every other commitment on my life. And I’m going to try to be happy about it until this too passes, the weight lifted from my mind, and I feel like myself again.

9 thoughts on “Christmas–A Depressing Time of Year?

  1. I understand depression coming during the holidays. We build up our hopes so for the plans we make, the decorating, the cooking, the shopping, the parties we give or attend. Moms tend to try to make the entire month perfect for their children. There’s no way that reality can live up to our expectations.

    Even if the Christmas festivities are grand and well received and everyone in the family gets along, we’re at a crossroads, a time we tend to reflect upon the year. Usually, we think of what we’ve accomplished and we list our failures. That, mixed with the dreary weather and bills of January, people fall into deeper depression.

    What if we really focused upon the baby in the manger, upon the One who left everything: his Father, his rightful throne in Heaven. He took on a cumbersome body and all the problems we face in the world. Then there’s the fact that, before coming to us in human form, he, the only one ever without sin, knew what was ahead of him–the complete condemnation of man on earth.

    What if we focused not upon what we have materially but upon the spiritual gifts available to us? What if we focused not upon what we’ve done this year but upon the blessings showered upon us by God? What if we dwelt not upon our failures but confessed them to God and asked that our sins be removed and replaced by what God wants for us? What if we reached out, as Jesus did, to those with less, loving them as Jesus did?

    I think we wouldn’t have much time to think about our depression.

    I face my fifteenth Christmas without my parents and my thirteenth without my late husband. I’m retiring from teaching in May, metaphorically stepping out over a cliff into a sea of uncertainty; will I find another job, how drastically will I have to change my relatively easy lifestyle? I’ve recently been diagnosed with squamos cell carcinoma, borderline high blood pressure, osteopenia, arthritis in my back, and scoliosis. I’ll have no Christmas tree or decorations in the house because no family will be in my house. I’ve had years of depression that began in November and didn’t end until spring. What’s different this year?

    I spent a year walking with Jesus and with John. Then I began a journey with Isaiah, taking his prophecies to heart for me. God is blessing me with energy I didn’t have before so I can accomplish some tasks he’s put before me. I’ve found new “family” at BSF, at a new church I’m visiting. I’m rediscovering the joy of listening to people’s stories. I’ve looked for folks who are in much greater need than I during this winter season. I counted my blessings daily in November and started listing my daily expectations on December 1. On the 1st, I said I’m expecting eventual sight of the hopes of my faither. I’ve expected joy, grace of time expansion, and other things daily; God is not letting me down.

    The moment I take my eyes off of the Lord, I think of myself, my problems. The Lord is much better to look at! 🙂

    I wish you the most joyful of Christmases this year and pray that your husband finds a new job soon!

    God bless.

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    1. Great advice, Patti. Getting bogged down in life’s daily turmoils distracts from His eternal promises and life. Thanks for the reminder! You are in my prayers for the holidays and health wise and for His Kingdom.

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  2. It seems that way for me during this tme of the Year. I am driven and hard on myself and feel I have failed to measure up to the goals I have set.I sometimes feel like a failure as a father since I have made so many mistakes.I am behind on so many things. Life can be challenging.

    The good news is I have grown considerbly since I have been with BSF 5 YEARS. I am lacking in the intimacy with the Lord. I have been too self reliant all my life and driven as an military man. I am starting to trust our Lord more and realize I need to pray more and yeild my will to Gods wIll in all I do. I need his help.

    I
    I admire

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  3. I also feell like you sometimes and realize I have been so driven and hard on myself. I was in USCG FOR 26 years and was very driven with my goals and mission accompishment. I have relied on my own streagth to much but have been successful. I have failed as a fatrher in so many ways and have thoughts that I have not measured up.

    The good news is BSF has helped me considerbly the last going on 5 years I am growing each year. I have Realized more so recently my relationship with our Lord and Father needs to be more intimate and I need to trust in Him to help me do all the things I need to.

    I need to enjoy all the Lord has given me and count my blessings. Find time to enjoy the moments more.

    I will keep you in my prayers. Take time to relax with family and enjoy Gods blessings this season. I also appreciate your thoughtful and hard work in studing Gods Word which helps others and myself with studies.

    Thank You

    Mark

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  4. I recently joined your blog subscription. Everytime I login I learn something and I find a kindred spirits. Yes the Christmas season is frantic and I am sure it is our American traditions that have made it so. I am struggling to find balance and every week I am so thankful I have this BSF study. Also, I have been in a small group and we have been reading “Experiencing God” by Henry Blackaby which has really put the icing on the cake. (I particularly like the workbook that accompanies the book)

    I really never realized until this study that I was to observe and see where God is at work and not where I might find work. It truly has turned my perception point around. While I still struggle, I find that I am listening more and I am seeing where God want’s me. My struggle continues to be with where I think I should be and yes that old self reliance…hmm.

    I want to thank you for your diligence and for sharing your life with us.
    I pray that you will find HIS peace this Christmas.

    http://www.blackaby.org/resources/bmistore/egbooks.asp

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    1. I began a five-month small-group study of Experiencing God in January almost thirteen years ago. I’d been attending church but didn’t really know anyone there. The personal study was the best Bible study I’d ever had, and the small group discussions led me to know several women; that led to my joining a Sunday morning Bible study. In April of that year, my husband was killed in an accident. The women from both groups became my instant family. Even more important, the relationship I’d begun building with the Lord held me up.

      I joined BSF a year and a half ago, with the study of John. I needed the love that’s so obvious throughout John! How wonderful to walk with Jesus through the months. I’m thankful, too, for in the indepth study of John prior to Isaiah! I’m a discussion group leader this year and am challenged weekly–daily–by the scripture. The ladies in my group are a true inspiration too; they are so human but are so yearning for God. I am blessed weekly and held up by their responses!

      Merry Christmas to you all. I think Experiencing God might be my study through the three-week break from BSF!

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  5. Often Christians look to spiritual or emotional causes for depression, without even considering that there may be a physical cause.

    As a person with a chronic illness, I know that there may be other factors that cause depression, such as physical illness, nutritional deficiencies, medication side effects, etc.

    For example, I remember reading that one psychiatrist always tests his new patients’ thyroid levels.

    I recently came across an interesting link regarding anxiety and depression.

    http://www.drmurphreestore.com/anxietyanddepression.html

    (If a person does further study on the subject of depression they will find there are other nutritional deficiencies that may also be a factor.)

    If a person is suffering prolonged depression they really need to seek competent medical attention.

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    1. There are physical causes of depression. Please beware of physicians and psychitrists who readily write prescriptions without thorough testing and discussion. Some antidepressants and mood stabilizers can cause deeper depression and mood swings. Listen to God and to your body; don’t rely upon the wisdom of man.

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