I’ve read some articles, blogs and emails these past couple of weeks. One theme I’ve noticed is many people seem to be fighting depression this holiday season. People talk about feeling dark, blue, depressed, sad, and being overwhelmed.
The one thing I’ve learned about the season from now until the end of New Years is that it is not a time to be focusing inwardly. It is not a time to focus on what you don’t have. It is not a time to allow the enemy to suck the life out of you and get you focused on dark, depressing, and debilitating thoughts.
These seasons are a time of LIGHT. It is not only the time to celebrate gratitude and thankfulness or to celebrate The Light, Jesus. It is a time to BE a light in this world of darkness. Ya can’t shine your light if you’re busy hiding it behind depression.
I remember one year I was trying to catch depression. We were broke and it was looking dire. One evening during church, I heard someone say that they changed their entire holiday outlook by changing their focus. I went home and began cataloging my many blessings. What did I have to be depressed over? That I couldn’t put a bunch of gifts under the tree? I couldn’t go out and buy new decorations? What a crock.
Yes, crock. I had enough containers of Christmas decorations to decorate the entire neighborhood. We have a beautiful home, heat, food, family up the hill to celebrate with, plenty. We had so much more than other people. I got over myself.
Alpha Hubby, Alpha Son and I decided we would focus outwardly that year. Alpha Hubby was pastor at a nursing home at that time. If you want to put things in perspective, go visit a nursing home. We decided to buy everyone gifts because so many of them were alone, with family far away, or who didn’t visit, or who were all gone.
We got with our home church and they got into the idea and donated gifts so we’d have plenty. It wasn’t just useful gifts – things they needed – we found gifts that fit WHO the person was such as the woman who loved perfume or the gentleman who’s feet were always cold. We had a blast and so did they.
It was the best Christmas we ever had, bar none. Why? We thought outwardly. We became a light for others.
Do you know if you sit in a perfectly dark room then light one small candle, darkness is dispelled? No matter how dark it is, even if you can’t see your hand in front of your face, one teeny tiny light will knock out the dark. Darkness cannot stand in the face of light. There is no such thing as a darkness that can overcome light. There is such a thing as light always overcoming darkness.
The picture above Christmas is year before last (2013) with our new black tree. I turned all the lights in the house off and didn’t use the flash on my camera. As you can tell, no matter how dark the room was (and it is super dark), all the lights wipe out darkness. The one below is with all the lights on. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you will see I do my duty toward Alpha Hubby in keeping my promise to drive him bonkers with my snowmen!
You have a choice during these seasons. You can choose to focus on self, inwardly, or you can focus on all God and Jesus have done for you. Even if it is to simply thank God for pavement to drive a vehicle on instead of dirt ruts and wooden wagon wheels with no shocks, find something to be grateful for this holiday season.
You can focus on helping others because believe me, there are people far worse off than you. You’re reading this via the internet. Some people don’t even have electricity. Salvation Army usually takes donations toward Thanksgiving baskets for needy people in the area.
Soon many Christmas trees will go up in lobbies of banks and stores with slips of paper tacked to the tree. My son and his wife make a point to always grab several names off the trees. The names on those slips of paper are children in the area who won’t have a Christmas unless someone helps.
There are all sorts of ways to donate – time, money, food, toys (especially in The Dollar General Stores who have boxes right in front of the entry way asking for toy and food donations. Buy a toy then drop it in the box on your way out of the store).
I can’t emphasize this enough: go out and shine your light in someone else’s life.
God is Good, always in all ways! Go and do likewise.