“…the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” – Job 1:21 KIV
Thanksgiving and Christmas are two main times of the year Americans come together with family and friends celebrating life and each other. As each year passes sometimes so does some of the lives of our love ones. At times it maybe unbearable. Just last year everyone gathered together to eat Thanksgiving dinner, thanking God for bringing everyone back together again one more time however, this year is different. Anger, frustration, confusion and bitterness overwhelms us as we imagine in our minds how this year will turn out. Questions pounder our minds, “where do we celebrate now? Maybe we should just cancel this year”. Yes it is challenging, yes there are going to be some major adjustments, yes life as you know it may never be the same. But this is a good time to stop, collect your thoughts and praise God. Holiday depression is different from holiday grief. Depression is described as a mood disorder causing a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. There is a natural side of depression as well as a spiritual side. Grief is different in the sense that it is a reaction or a response but not a state. Depression can become a state of mind if not addressed and corrected. 

Grieving is a natural process following a difficult time or loss. The key is not allowing grief to control our mind and spirits. Depression is real and is often something we “sweep under the rug”. I suffered from depression for many years but was embarrassed to talk about it to anyone because I felt as a Christian, I should not experience depression but it’s much more common than we think, especially in the Bible. [Side note: For more information on how to fight depression please see my Article, “Saved and Battling with Depression” on my website.]

Below is a list of helpful tips on how to fight the Holiday Blues:

1) BE THANKFUL – Thanksgiving does not stop because your love one is no longer here. Thank God for the life of your loved one. The Bible tells us to “Give THANKS in ALL circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18.  God knows exactly what you are going through right now and really wants the best for you. Thanking God is a way of praising God. When you are praising God you are letting Him know, “I may not understand what you doing right now but I trust you”

2) CELEBRATE – This is a good time to love and cherish the love ones who are still here. Rejoice and vow to enjoy every moment of your time with family and friends. Create new family traditions to include everyone. If you notice someone having a hard time, sit down and talk with them. Enjoy a good laugh. Laughter is good medicine for the heart (Proverbs 17:22).

3) FORGIVE – There is nothing worse than knowing you had an issue that was unresolved with a love one that is no longer here. If there is any hidden hurt or bitterness be sure to resolve it quickly. Make it right before it is too late. Remember God forgave us of our sins its only right for us to forgive others especially if we want to remain in the will of God. Forgiveness destroys strongholds over your life that has control over you. Free yourself by forgiving. 

4) ALWAYS REMEMBER – Celebrating a Holiday without a love one is hard. This year try setting up a candle at the table in their memory. Have everyone share a great and/or funny memory of your loved one at the dinner table. By remembering, you are bringing peace to the situation. You are able to enjoy the good times and reminisce on how much they meant to everyone. Never forget the love that they brought to the table.

Reality is, it will not be easy but God is here to help us through every moment. His arms are opened wide holding and comforting us during our times of grief. Go through the process, allow God to mend and restore your brokenness. Continue to praise him ever when you don’t feel like it. Remember  Judah (whose name means praise) saved Joseph out the pit and praise will save you too. Holidays are a time of joy and festivities. Your loved ones would desire nothing more than for you to be happy, joyful and enjoy your holidays as their legacy  continue to live on in your heart forever. 

*Originally published in November, 2015 by Today’s Purpose Woman