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When the holidays are hard and rejoicing seems nearly impossible

I love the holidays! They help me get through the cold winter months. Somehow the holiday music and lights spread cheer among everyone. There seems to be so much to do around this time of year. It’s a time of giving, a time of sharing.

Yet, the holiday season isn’t a time of rejoicing for some. It’s a hard time of year. There are people struggling financially, emotionally, medically, and mentally. How could anything seem good when everything seems like it’s falling apart? A father just lost his son to cancer.  A man isn’t able to spend it with the woman he loves.  A mother is signing her child as a DNR.  A woman prays the same prayer everyday in hopes that God would answer.  When will help come?  When will things get better?  Every year, as depression grows deeper in the veins, the colder his heart has become.  Debt hasn’t budged, and now he’s been laid off.  Chemo isn’t working, and medicine seems to make him more sick.  He longs for the love of his heart, when will he get to hold her in his arms?  Her child is suffering, how does she let go?  For many, this time of year is difficult.  Many feel like its not OK to have these feeling or to show the sorrows they carry.  She’s pulls herself together for the rest of her children.  He wears a mask so no one will look into his eyes.  She’s got to brave so no one calls her weak.  He hides her in his heart, because he asks himself, does it matter?

Does it matter?

The truth is, you’re not alone.  It’s okay to grieve our sorrows without shame.  Even if you cannot hold it in the palms of your hand, the pain you are experiencing is very tangible and real.  It is a part of your story.  The pressures of being perfect and/or perfectly happy during the holiday season (or any time of the year for that matter) is simply untrue.  Life is hard, life is hard whether you are in the wilderness or in a $5 million home.  Our locations won’t change the hardships and sufferings we go through.  They will just look different.  And maybe from the outside looking in, your life seems great to others.

It would be great advice to tell everyone, surround yourself with people during this time of year.  Except the harsh reality is, some have become accustomed to suffering alone.  I’m not sure how you define concept of “family”.  But it states in Psalm 68:6, “God sets the lonely in families”.  We cannot change the suffering or trials we have to go through, and even when we feel like we are all alone, we are not.  Somehow, there is at least one person speaking life and truth to you during this season.  There is at least one person, that no matter how much you fake fine, will never walk away from you and not because this person is stupid or has to stick around, but this person calls you part of his/her family.  See there is nothing more beautiful than the way God describes family, because it encompasses everyone, and is not limited to blood or marriage.  Not all presents are wrapped in pretty bows or look perfect from the outside.  The best present you have ever been given is the gift of someone’s presence who doesn’t need to be there for  you, but wants to be.  It’s okay to be vulnerable with each other.  Your circumstances won’t change, but it is a great reminder that you are fully loved and you are not walking alone.  God sets the lonely in families, and if He positioned you on someone’s heart, they are as much a gift to you as you are to them.

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