Christmas season is upon us, so many people are rushing about with holiday preparations shopping, planning, and decorating. Thoughts of seeing family fill the minds of many people and for many those are happy ones of anticipation of seeing loved ones again.
For some the holidays represent a stark contrast to the holiday joy. Family problems can make holiday gatherings something to dread or avoid. Loneliness can set in and be magnified at this time.
Monday evening on the show The Voice, one of the contestants Kimberli Joye shared her struggle with depression and what helped her get out of the deep valley of depression. She sang a song that helped lift her out of the pit of depression, Oceans by Hillsong.
As she shared her story, I thought about the passage from Isaiah 61 about the promised Messiah who would come:
“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.”
The reason for Christmas is to celebrate to birth of Jesus the promised one Isaiah 61 speaks of. He came to set us free from depression, despair. He came to give us a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. He came to bring healing to the brokenhearted. He came to make us strong like oak trees.
Kimberli shared how praise music helped her out of the valley of depression. I know it has helped me with depression. Some other things that have helped in the past when Christmas comes are things that help me focus on Jesus and not on the holiday trappings such as:
Watch movies about the birth of Jesus not the sappy romanticized movies about the miracle of Christmas season.
Serve others to show the love of Jesus in practical ways. For me it is helping my refugee and immigrant friends.
If family is too problematic, serve someone else on Christmas Day such as at a local mission.
Listen to music that focuses on Christmas being the birth of our Savior.
Spend time with Jesus in prayer and tell him what you are experiencing. He already knows anyway.
AND- remember Jesus came to set us free. He has promised to always be with us even in the deep valleys.
Here is Kimberli singing Oceans on The Voice. Thank you for reading. God Bless.