Many people suffer from depression during the Christmas season. Some are experiencing their first Christmas after a loved one has died. Others worry about the family dynamic on Christmas day–Will Uncle Ralph pick a fight? Will Cousin Sarah get drunk? For others, the limitations of getting everyone together can create stress and disappointment.
Anyone who’s divorced with children knows the heartache of Christmas. Where will the children be? How do we divide up the time? As the children grow up, marry, and start their own families, it becomes even harder. Which family will they spend Christmas with? Who will we have to leave out? Add to this married children of divorce who have married a child of divorce, and the problem is staggering.
Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three… Luke 12:51-52
Even though these verses don’t refer to this specific situation, this is another example of why divorce is not God’s plan. We are facing it, ourselves. After many years of Christmases with most of our family gathered together, we’ve hit an interesting crossroads. One child is saving her money to come home for a wedding in April, instead. The others are headed to various family members’ homes, just not ours. Aging parents can’t make the trip.
I know Christmas is not about who is where. It’s about the birth of Christ, and the world’s awareness of God’s gift of salvation. It’s a time of blessings.
But it’s also a time when families gather together.
So, we will be trying out new traditions this year. New ways of approaching the day. On the plus side, we won’t have to rush to get dressed and get the turkey in the oven before family arrives. We can take it slower. And we will see most everyone over the next week. We get a prolonged Christmas.
Someone you know is facing a Christmas alone or separated from loved ones. Reach out to them, share with them your lives, and, most importantly, share the story of Jesus and the hope he brings.