People don’t expect to experience the blues during the holidays. Those precious days between Thanksgiving and Christmas are supposed to be spent celebrating family and the magic of Christmas, with cookie exchanges, shopping for the perfect present and decorating with all things green, red and sparkly. But the honest truth is many church leaders struggle deeply with depression and melancholy during this happy season.
The activity level and responsibilities increase, and the pressure both personally and at church amps up. Everyone wants the services during December to be both inspirational and deeply significant. Christmas is such a sacred season, but it also comes with many social pressures that can completely wreck the beauty of the holiday.
Any believer must wrestle with maintaining focus on the spiritual significance of Christmas while still enjoying the secular aspects of the celebration and traditions connected with this holiday. However, a church leader can really struggle with this. There is such pressure to make sure the environment and orchestration of the Christmas services provide the opportunity to present the Gospel.
So as a church leader, how does one maintain focus on the sacred aspect of Christmas and also enjoy the fun and excitement without becoming bogged down by responsibility? Is it possible to enjoy Christmas without becoming overwhelmed and experiencing the holiday blues?
3 Ways to Beat the Holiday Blues:
Don’t Forget the Fun
Christmas really is meant to be a magical season. There is nothing wrong with enjoying your favorite Christmas carols, making frosted Christmas cookies, drinking hot chocolate by the fire and snuggling up with family watching your favorite Christmas movie. There is power in these memory-making moments and in amazing ways they help families grow . Something magical happens when family and friends participate in traditions that bring joy. God is after our joy, and Christmas fun can most certainly create that. So make Christmas fun a priority this season and don’t feel guilty about it. Do what brings you joy!
Remember the Why Behind the Fun
Many, if not most, of our favorite Christmas traditions have sacred roots. Do some research on your favorite Christmas carol and discover why it was written. Why are candy canes a Christmas favorite? Do Christmas trees have any spiritual significance? Sometimes the things that bring us joy will point us back to the Gospel in surprising ways. Maybe your favorite things about Christmas don’t have a spiritual element. But remembering why we celebrate this tiny baby being born will remind you of His great love for you and His plan for your life. Sometimes the most powerful thing we can do is remember His faithfulness. Take time to be amazed at the plan to use a baby to save a world that didn’t deserve to be saved.
Talk to Someone
It can feel scary as a church leader to admit to yourself, let alone someone else, that you aren’t excited about Christmas. Keeping your struggle to yourself isn’t going to help you or anyone else. It is okay to admit that you are in a hard season and need someone to come alongside you and help. It might mean asking a friend or family member to hold you accountable to enjoy the fun aspects of the season. Or maybe you need to invest in some self-care this season and start seeing a counselor. When you are experiencing the holiday blues, the natural response is to isolate yourself. However, the last thing you need is solitude. Instead, do the opposite. Reach out to someone you trust and simply explain your feelings. Let them into your struggle and allow them to help you experience the fun of Christmas! There is no need to walk through the season alone.
So if you aren’t excited about Christmas, don’t let yourself feel guilty or overwhelmed. It is a common experience, especially for those who work in the church. Take some time to make a plan. Allow yourself to reach out to someone you care about and invite them into this season. Reclaim Christmas and make it a magical season again. Christmas is about redemption, healing and joy. Redeem it in your own life this year!
Do you currently or have you ever experienced the holiday blues? If you are not experiencing this now, look around and consider if anyone you know might need you to come alongside and walk them back into the joy of the season!