The expectations of Christmas aren’t always merry and bright, are they?
I know, I know, you’ve tried to always be thankful. To always be grace-filled. To surround yourself with loved ones and festivity and cozy contentment.
And then when no one is looking, that same heart is busy breaking. Crying behind closed doors or inside stolen moments of quiet.
Hard to stem the waterworks when everything overwhelms instead of overjoys.
Hard to stem the flow of voices inside that only emphasize despair instead of delight, and panic instead of peace.
Oh, we hear the words. Joy to the world, right? Glad tidings?
But those who live with depression and anxiety will never just take the Christmas season for granted, will we? We find ourselves battling the same things we battle during the rest of the year. There’s no break from the swelling anxiety, feelings of helplessness, failure, inability to focus on all the waiting tasks.
The sleepless week happens, the lowness shadows you, you become agitated with everything only because you’re so tired of this disorder and illness attempting to steal away, piece by piece, symptom by raging symptom, the season of joy yet again.
I know all too well how hard it is to have your brain and body hijack all the good. All the celebrations rarely untouched by this. All the gatherings, occasions, and selfless giving upended or fought for only to be exhausted by the small things.
Chronic Dysthymia, anxiety, any mood disorder… Lord, why must I go through my day wondering when it will hit me next, and will anyone else understand any of this?
And when the heart finds itself in a crumpled ball of weariness in front of the glittering tree in the dark one night, when Christmas once again feels a little less, what then?
Let me tell you what I learned as I looked up at the tree that was supposed to be a symbol of celebration through watery, exhausted eyes.
That sometimes the darkness provides for the brightest hope to shine.
This is not a new thought, friends. But I had the visual reminder before me. And the Holy Spirit giving a sweet holy nudge beside me.
The twinkling lights on the tree shone in the dark far more brilliantly than during the daylight.
And the star. The first signal of holy hope to the world in darkness.
Hope. Hope for rescue. Hope for restoration. Hope for the weary soul. “The weary world rejoices” no longer just a line in a Christmas song.
Hey, weary heart. Rejoice. God longs to remind your dysthymic brain that He will never leave you or forsake you.
He goes from the Great I Am… to God With Us.
Look closely at the big star in the sky over Bethlehem. Squint through weary, watery, wounded eyes if you have to, but look with understanding today.
Within its radiant beams is the shape of a Cross.
We are not doing this alone. Those tears are not unseen. That mood swing not gone unnoticed. The battle is not ignored.
Your battle has a ready Victor.
And if ever there was a victory message, it began in the manger.
“Fear not. I Am is here to see you through, beloved.”
So know this each time the depression or situation tries to pull you under. We have a Life Preserver unlike any other. He’s defeated death. He’s defeated darkness. He has restoration and healing in His nail scarred hands.
“For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”
When Christmas feels a little less like Christmas, remember who is about to endure for you, with you, because of His great love for you.
When Christmas feels a little less, open your arms wide and ask Him to pull these words out of the deep down parts of you….
“O holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees,
Oh, hear the angel voices
O night divine,
O night when Christ was born.”
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