I remember the first time I heard Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas.” I was not a fan. Up until that point in my life, being sad at Christmas had never crossed my mind. Many years later, I have learned firsthand what it means to have a blue Christmas. It happened during those days when I felt the sting of singleness and other disappointments in life. It’s hard to be struggling when everyone else seems full of joy and hope.
Christmas can be a time when we feel what is missing in our lives: gifts, relationships, children, etc. If you are anticipating a blue Christmas this year, fight for joy and contentment in these three ways.
1. Focus On What You Have
The best way to relieve disappointment or discontentment in your heart is to count your blessings. Take a sheet of paper or a journal and start a list of things in your life you are thankful for. Can you think of 10 things? What about 100 things? Add to the list throughout the Christmas season and read through it every day.
Most of us spend too much time listening to the negative thoughts spilling out of our hearts instead of speaking positive thoughts into our hearts. If your heart gives you, “You are single and alone for another Christmas,” reply “I’m thankful for all the friends and family I get to spend time with this Christmas.” Over time, you can retrain your heart to focus on gratitude and dump discontentment.
2. Focus On Loving Others
Remember, you are not the only one having a challenging Christmas. When you are at parties or family gatherings, watch out for other people who may be struggling as well. You never know how an encouraging word or compliment could be a big help.
Instead of focusing on the things missing from your own life, focus on loving others. Do nice things. Say nice things. Be on a mission to encourage and lift up others, especially those who are hurting. One of the best things about focusing on loving others is that it often gives us joy to bring joy to others.
3. Learn To Lament
Too many people have never been taught how to biblically respond to life’s disappointments and unfulfilled longings. “Lamenting” is engaging with God truthfully in the midst of our sadness. God does not want us to ignore our pain and just put on a happy face. God doesn’t look at sad people and say, “Would everybody just cheer up?!”
In lamenting, we learn to be sad with God. We learn to bring our pain to a God who cares even when the pain doesn’t go away immediately. The Psalms have long been considered the prayer book of God’s people. It’s how we learn to pray by watching others pray. Most don’t know that up to 40 percent of the psalms are prayers of lament. In these psalms, David and others cry out to God to help them in their distress. They honestly engage with their sadness and affirm their hope in God, whether things get better or not.
If you are anticipating a “Blue Christmas” this year, open the psalms, lament, love others and never forget all the good things happening in your life.
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