What is the Cure for Holiday Depression?

For some people, the holidays are not a joyful time.  Instead, they are a depressing and dreadful time of the year.  People struggle under many scenarios during the holiday season.  Some include celebrating the holidays without a beloved family member.  Others involve the pressure of giving gifts to your children and family.  Instead of joy, others just feel run-down and overworked.

These and other scenarios can create holiday depression, but let’s dig below the surface.  Let’s talk about the root of the problem.  The root of the problem many times is the heart.

Image of woman with holiday depressionHeart Problem – What is the Center of Life?

Whenever I experienced depression, I was also lacking purpose in my life.  At those times, the center of my life was not Christ.  Instead, I was very much focused on myself.  Before I was a Christian, I thought that each day was just another one that brought closer my awaited, meaningless death.  After I became a Christian, every day seemed like a new adventure. I had found meaning.  The meaning to life that I found was Jesus.

How does that help depression?  Jesus is the opposite of depression . . . Jesus is life!  All of this life we need to focus on him – not ourselves.  In Jesus, our yoke is easy and our burden is light.  Our hearts can easily be troubled when our focus turns inward towards ourselves. Jesus redirects the focus to himself:

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” John 14:1

The cure for holiday depression is to focus on Jesus instead of self!

What Does that Look Like during Holidays?

During the holidays, being Christ-focused is the best way to stop being self-focused.  Let me show you what it looks like to respond in a Christ-focused way when Christmas plans go wrong.

Ever since my husband and I got married, we have celebrated Christmas with my parents, nephews, and nieces on Christmas Day.  One particular Christmas, my mom called me the day before Christmas and informed me that they were sick and it might not be the best idea to come on Christmas Day.

It would have been easy to react in a self-focused way.  I could have been sad or angry, lamenting the loss of that one, rare day that I spend with my family.  Staying in bed a few extra hours or complaining had always come easy to me in the past. It certainly could have worked here!  Yet, would that have been a Christ-focused response?  Certainly not!  Instead, I chose to react in a way that was pleasing to God.  We quickly organized a Christmas brunch with some other family members.  Later, we wholeheartedly enjoyed a relaxing afternoon and evening alone.  Thankfulness and our focus on Jesus made it all quickly happen.  When we focus on Jesus, we quickly become thankful for what we have instead of what we do not.   Our hearts remain confident in the fact that we will always have Jesus, the closest and most important member of our family.  He will never leave us or forsake us!

Conclusion:  The Cure to Holiday Depression

This holiday season, if you are not a Christian, then I encourage you to make Jesus your Lord and Savior.   We can trust Jesus’ simple and loving words:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the father except through me.” John 14: 6

“I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:3

But, remember, we can only have this eternal life and provision through repentance and faith in Jesus:

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”  Mark 1:15

As lovingly as I can say, you must make a decision.  You must decide once and for all who Jesus really is in the scheme of things . . . a great teacher?   A religious, historical figure?   Or exactly who he claimed to be  . . . the one promised Savior of humanity, the restorer of earth, and promised Son of God.  This decision, and the obvious faith response to such a discovery, will determine your destiny both on this earth and when you die one day.

To those of you who are Christians and are struggling with depression this holiday season, I encourage you to make Jesus the center of your life.  In doing so, always make it your simple aim to please God in whatever you do:

In 2 Corinthians 5:9 it says, “Therefore, we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.”  As Christians, our meaning in life should be to bring glory to God through Jesus as we boldly live in him.