oh oh oh...!
Perhaps we're used to living the hyperbole, that is, the build up and magnification of everything. So, advent is a side-bar to the Chrsitmas thing, a simple remembrance seconded to the lights and glitter of the show. In the middle of the extravaganza are the depressed people, those not having such a holly, jolly time. The pros call it seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Whatever? But, it is true that many of us are saying oh, oh, oh, rather than ho, ho ho. Life is hard and even the fancies of the holidays can't mask the SAD realities underneath the foil.
Lay out on the sofa and Google SAD and you'll find pages of remedies. Send yourself a nice Christmas card with a hand-written personal note. Give yourself permission to admit your troubles and reflect on whatever ails you for a few minutes or hours. Throw a one-person Christmas party and drown your sorrows in some Christmas recipe. Cook your favorite Christmas goodies and devour every bite yourself. Perhaps a few of these strategies will give you the momentary lift to make it through Christmas. Then, you can repeat the process when the new year thing rolls around the next week. They're all good activities to help us deal with the down side of times that are supposed to be more.
Here's what I do. It may be silly and trite and sound like a Sunday School remedy to most of you. But, I find a promise God made to me in Scripture, and I cling to it more than than those icicle things cling to the tree. In fact, I've been clinging to this one promise for three Christmases. It is the promise He give me on the night we found out our son, Brian, had been murdered. It is
1 Peter 5:6: "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time (NIV)". It is my Christmas promise because there is an empty place around our tree, and it makes me incredibly SAD. So, this promise is etched on my heart, and I recite it every day, more during the season that celebrates his birth. It seems to have a little more substance that the fruit cake I use for a door stop.
So, here's your assignment. (1) If you're having a hard time personally, get into the Word, find a promise, and cling to it with all you've got. When you're at the end and think there's no more, remember James 4:6: "But he gives more grace". (2) If you have a family member or friend who's struggling during the Christmas season, offer them your verse or promise, encourage them to find one, or help them find one. (3) Find a away to give generously during the season of Christ or do something nice for someone, something beyond your usual gestures. Put more in the offering plate. Give someone a hand. Smile and be nice. Treat the retail people with some gratitude and respect. Start singing in the line at Wally World.
So, some are saying "ho, ho, ho". Some are mumbling "oh, oh,oh". Perhaps we can extend a hand and help someone say "ah,ah,ah".
'Tis the season. Let's acts like the namesake. Merry Christmas!