“Where are you Christmas?
Why can’t I find you?
Why have you gone away?
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me?
Why can’t I hear music play?”*
Christmas can be one of the hardest times of the year to be struggling with depression. You look around at all the strings of lights, but you feel dark inside. You see people smiling, laughing, and singing songs, but everything inside of you is heavy and silent. The whole world seems to have come alive with a buzzing excitement while you’re left standing in the middle of it all, feeling empty.
You can watch people’s joy- but you don’t feel anything yourself.
You can sit by the fire- but you always feel cold inside.
You can spend time with family- but you constantly feel alone.
You can get out of bed- but you feel like you’re asleep.
When I was dealing with depression last Christmas, I found myself not really caring about all the fun and exciting things the Christmas season brings: decorations, cookies, presents, family gatherings, countdowns ‘til Christmas morning — none of it seemed to really matter to me. It was like Christmas disappeared. I was missing Christmas- my favorite time of year. I found myself wondering what was wrong with me. Why did I feel so lost and frozen in the middle of everyone else’s excitement? Why couldn’t I laugh and sing with them anymore?
If you are struggling with depression during this season, I understand how hard it can be. And while your emotions, or lack of emotion, can feel overwhelming and never-ending at times, I would like to encourage you to remember a couple of things.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus’ birth. He is Emmanuel, God with us. Did you hear that? Jesus is God with us! He is not far away; He is very near. He has not forgotten or abandoned you. He came to this very world and walked through it, with all of the troubles and heartache that it brings, so that He could be with you, and so that you could know His love for you.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” – 1 John 4:16
God is with you, even though you cannot see Him. Even if you can’t feel Him, He is still there. He is walking with you through every moment. He is carrying you on His shoulders. (Isaiah 46:3-4) He will never leave you or forsake you. (Deut. 31:8) He understands what you are going through, and He is here to help you through it. (Heb. 2:14-18, Heb. 4:15-16)
THE DARKNESS CANNOT KILL THE LIGHT.
Christmas is a celebration of Jesus, our Light, coming into this dark world to save us. No matter what you are going through or how dark it may feel, His light is enough to transform your night.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. …The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:1-9, 14
It’s easy to get caught up in trying to get out of feeling depressed, but trying to get away from darkness doesn’t really work. Darkness isn’t actually a thing, it is the absence of something: light. You can’t get away from something that isn’t actually there. So how do you beat the darkness? Run into the light.
“You light a lamp for me. The LORD, my God, lights up my darkness.” – Psalms 18:28
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” – Psalm 119:105
Even in the midst of hard times and real struggles, we can have hope – and even joy – when we look at Jesus and dwell on who He is. He is our ever-present help and the light of the world. He is our Savior and Deliverer. He defeated all death, darkness, and sin when He died on the cross and rose again. When we spend time sitting in His presence and listening to His voice, His light overcomes our darkness.
Satan would like to steal your joy and drain the life out of you. He would like for you to forget what a blessing each day is. He wants you to be blind to the beauty and joy of Christmas. His goal is to destroy your praise to God for the great gift of sending His Son to save you. But Jesus came so that you don’t have to live like that, trying to just survive day to day. Jesus came to give you abundant life! When you remember that this is what we are celebrating at Christmas, you may find you have a reason to celebrate, too.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10
*Lyrics from Where Are You Christmas by Faith Hill