Advent 16 - Blue

Christmas can bring a lot of stress, and for good reasons. A quick disclaimer: If this devotional strikes home for you, please don’t hesitate to find professional help. If you aren’t sure, you can always call the church office at 334.793.3555 and we can get things moving in the right direction. Okay? So…

Among all the fun and glitz you will often find people who are struggling under the weight of it all at Christmas time. Sometimes finances, stress, loneliness, grief, brokenness, expectations, etc. can become too much and instead of Christmas creating a joyous moment instead it becomes a wall of dread.

Traditionally in the church, the color of Advent (the season where we prepare for the coming of the Christ-child), is traditionally purple or blue. I think this is perfect because while blue and purple are beautiful colors, they can also be a signal that something is not quite right. Maybe blue is the color of the Advent season because we often have to address what is not quite right before we can discover true happiness.

Jesus knew what it was to be blue. He grieved the loss of loved ones like John the Baptist and Lazarus. He prayed in anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane. Christians often lift high a cross to remember Jesus – a symbol of death and defeat in the Roman world that Jesus ultimately chose to represent himself. Some of our holiest moments in life are when God joins us in our grief and we feel that the creator of the universe is with us in our darkest moments.

It is realistic to expect that the seasons of life do not always line up perfectly with the calendar. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just flip a switch and be happy when all the world is inviting you to be happy at Christmas time? Humanity does not work like this and yet we can comfort each other.

If you find yourself or someone you love caught by the Christmas blues, there shouldn’t be any shame in it (although we often feel shame). There are some great ways to cope, and depression around Christmas time is surprisingly common. Here are some practical ways to address the Christmas blues:

1)      Make plans and try to stick to them. Having the calendar set can be a good way to address the unknowns that we play with in our minds.
2)      Don’t wait til the last minute. We can avoid a lot of unnecessary stress if we act before a deadline. It also frees you up to respond to needs that were not expected.
3)      Ask for help! You don’t have to do everything yourself. Doing things together can be more fun and build relationships.
4)      Minimize regrets. Be realistic with consumption and purchases! If you make a decision that you expect to just deal with after Christmas, it will create a lot of latent shame and guilt. Be honest with people and they’ll respect that.
5)      Rest. For real, moderation in all things especially sleep and alone time. If being around people over Christmas stresses you out, plan time to be alone as well. You are worth it.
6)      Don’t isolate. Being alone can be overwhelming. There are always places you can serve your neighbors and everybody wins!

Hear the good news! The reason for the season understands what it is to be human. You are loved in that, even if Christmas feels blue.

Our church is having a Service of Hope and Healing on December 19th at 6pm in the Chapel at First United Methodist Church, 1380 W Main St, Dothan, AL 36305. I hope you’ll join us if Christmas has you feeling blue.
Photo by Burst