Coping with feelings of sadness, depression or loneliness is hard any time, but during the Christmas season, these feelings can be magnified. You can feel alone even when surrounded by others, but when you are single – divorced, never married, widowed – loneliness can be a heavy burden, especially during the holidays.
Loneliness can even be very difficult for Christians, who are conditioned to believe that we should feel happiness and joy during the Christmas holiday. For many of us though, that’s simply not the case. It’s easy to put the focus on ourselves instead of on Christ and others during this time of year, making it difficult to be in the Christmas spirit . The harder we try to shake this feeling, the harder it gets.
In his December 2009 article, Why People Get Depressed at Christmas, leadership training expert Ray Williams shares that the Christmas season is when depression and suicide rates are at their highest. Instead of looking forward to “the most wonderful time of the year,” Williams adds, almost half of the population feels dread instead of excitement when December rolls around.
One reason for this, he explains, is that people have unrealistic expectations of Christmas when it comes to social gatherings, relationships and feeling alone. This doesn’t have to be the case with Christians when they ground themselves in the resources God provides.
Excessive self-reflection and comparing oneself with others who appear to be happy in their family life and secure in their relationships can trigger depression and invoke the question, “Why don’t I have that?” God made us, after all, for relationships, didn’t He?
Yahweh God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” —Genesis 2:18
It is important to remember, however, that just because we might feel alone, that doesn’t necessarily make it so. It is important to remember, in fact, that we are never alone, as God is always with us.
Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness. —Isaiah 41:10
But Will It Get Better?
If you can’t shake those feelings of overwhelming sadness, or you feel yourself getting more depressed, turn to your pastor, fellowship group, Christian counselor or possibly a trusted medical professional while tuning out all that media hype about Christmas.
We can’t expect God to help us overcome loneliness and depression unless we trust in Him. With that trust will come comfort and peace as we give ourselves over to His will; let Him use us to reach out to others.
We can help with a ministry, get involved with a charity, volunteer to help those less fortunate than ourselves. We can share a hobby with someone else or invite someone we think might be feeling lonely to join us in an activity we will both enjoy.
Think about the friends God has given you, not about the relationships that have failed. Reach out to good friends. Pick up the phone. Send an email. Share an inspiring post on social media. Organize an outing. Fellowship with friends, according to Mayo Clinic.com, especially when you are feeling alone, can help you feel happier, make it easier to cope with stress, provide an increased sense of belonging, and help you feel stronger – better about yourself, and less alone.