Locations & Times

Aftermath of the Holidays

by Leigh Ann Dilley on January 12, 2023

Happy New Year!

Something new has begun but something old may be lingering. It seems the holiday season was a time of great joy intertwined with great sorrow for many of us, myself included! Statistically, 64% of people admit to being affected by holiday depression. While the aftermath of Christmas can send people into the blues or disappointment, grief and depression are something altogether different.

Grief is described as the loss of any person or thing that we care about. Grief around the holidays can be caused by numerous things, i.e. the first Christmas without a loved one, financial stress, disappointing relationships. Grief can be enhanced through unhealthy habits at this time of year, such as fatigue, excessive eating, drinking, or the lack of physical exercise.

Unmet expectations are another likely culprit of disappointment or grief. Great times leave us with a short-lived "high," but disappointment or grief over unmet expectations can take us months or longer to recover from. It is good to be expectant, but do we place our expectations on our unsuspecting relatives and friends?

How, then, do we grieve as Christians? Is it okay to grieve when God asks us to leave outcomes to Him?

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

If we are supposed to be peaceful in all circumstances, does that not mean we can't grieve? Three words differentiate us as Christians when we grieve: peace, trust, and hope. Yes, we grieve with hope. We are allowed to work through our losses while in the security of our Creator, who shields us from harm. I like the picture of grieving under the shelter of God's wings as described in Psalm 91:4: He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

So, we have the freedom to grieve! Even get angry! One of the stages of grief is anger! You are hidden and protected by a personal, faithful, loving God! He will not judge you while you grieve. It's healthy to feel all the emotions that you have and call them out. Experience them in the presence of God! He wants you to share them with Him, and then He wants to take them from you. As it says in 1 Peter 5:7: Give all your worries and cares to God because He cares about you.

"Jesus wept," (John 11:35) means, in part, that Jesus is with you and feels these same emotions alongside you.

The point is not to lose heart.

Isaiah 43:19 says, "For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."

Whether your grief/disappointment looks like a wilderness or a wasteland, God has promised to strengthen and guide you in what to do next. Cling to the promise of Deuteronomy 31:8, "The Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

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