Perspective For Holiday Blues

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Greetings In The Name of the Lord:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Most people are of the opinion that depression is very prominent in during the Christmas season.  However, a recent study that I read tells a different story.  It stated, “Contrary to popular belief, December actually has the fewest suicide attempts of any month of the year. The facts, while seemingly encouraging, may be more complicated, however.  While it’s true that suicide attempts tend to drop off just before and during the holidays, there is a significant uptick in suicide rates following Christmas—a 40 percent uptick, according to one large Danish study. Christmas itself seems to have a protective effect with regard to certain types of psychopathology, say researchers, but there is a significant rebound effect immediately following the holiday” (http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/holidays).  Perhaps depression is a problem, whether it is before, during, or after the holidays because we are focused on the wrong things?  We all have, it seems, an idealized notion of how the Christmas season should go.  This became an issue for me this year.  On Christmas Eve I began to think about what Christmas was like as a child.  Most of my memories focused on my family and the things that we did together in the celebration of Christmas.  My thoughts went back to attending Midnight services at church and then coming home Mom would make breakfast for everyone.  Then we would all go to bed and wake up in the morning and open presents, followed by a huge Christmas dinner.  Pondering these memories I came to the realization that those days are gone forever.  The reason for this is that both my parents, and now two of my siblings have passed away.  The more I pondered these memories the more depressed I became.  However, on Christmas morning I woke up to the smells of an amazing Christmas dinner that Tina had been up working on for hours. Shortly afterward we opened presents and ate an amazing meal together.  It was then that the Lord helped me to realize that I am not less blessed today then I was then, it’s just that my blessings have changed.  God has replaced my immediate family with a wonderful wife, two amazing children, good friends, and an awesome church family.  How could I ask for any more?  Our circumstances may change, but are reason to be thankful never does!

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

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