Christians – and Holiday Season Depression

I recently had a person ask me how to deal with the depression that so often besets people during the holidays… I thought the question and answer might be helpful to many, so here they are!

Q: The Holidays are a very bad time for me ,I suffer depression,anger,hurt, etc. (In short I dread to see them come & would like to hide  in a hole till they are over)!  Could you give me some advice & readings on how I can get through this time of the year better & easier?  I try to be a good Christian but this time of year is very stressful !  Any advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated !  Thank You !

From what you’ve described it sounds like the depression you feel comes from a cluster of memories or experiences you’ve had, negative in nature, that in some way are related to the holiday season in your mind.  These could range from negative things that happened directly to you in the past during the holidays to the loss of a loved one or a tragic circumstance that somehow comes to mind especially during the holidays.  Or, it could be pain felt from the absence of close family relationships that you feel “should” be there.  Perhaps this comes from estrangement that has occurred, or the loss of a family member.  So to be in a season where it seems expected to be having fun with family, and to face the facts that for some reason that cannot happen in your case, can be quite depressing.
My counsel to you takes two forms… one is centered around how to combat the depression on the level of your thinking/feelings, and the other is centered around practical things you can do to make the holidays take on a new tone in terms of present-day reality.

So first – the thinking and feeling.  Any kind of negative feelings we have, especially when attached to past events, tend to draw us away from keeping our minds set on the central truths of our faith.  Some of those things are:
  1. God loves us!  So much so, that He sent His Son Jesus to bear the penalty of our sin!  That is a tremendous love – that outweighs all other loves AND all disappointments.  “If God is FOR us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 – read the whole chapter to re-emphasize this truth in your mind!)
  2. Jesus took our punishment – there is no more for us to bear!  Our guilt is gone and we stand “naked and unashamed” before our Creator!  To enable us to be completely free of our sin so that nothing stands in the way of us being WITH God in genuine fellowship is the reason Jesus came as a little baby!  It’s ample reason to celebrate!
  3. Jesus has given us HIS righteousness!  When the Father looks at us, He only sees the goodness of Jesus – imputed/given to us as OURS!  (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Soak yourself in this passage as well, and see how the Lord begins to refresh your spirit with the good news of what He has made of you through Jesus!
  4. You have a wonderful future ahead, all because of Christ!  The eternity that is ahead for believers in Jesus, will far outweigh any difficulties or depressions we face.  Our hope is secure and sure!  (Colossians 3:4, 1 Timothy 4:10, Hebrews 10:23, Philippians 3:13-15)
  5. If any of your depression stems from unresolved “wrongs” that have been done to you, go to 1 Peter 2:21-23 and soak in the truth of how Jesus handled the same thing.  He was mistreated, but did not do the same in return.  Instead He entrusted Himself to the Father, who is ultimately faithful to judge such things.  You can rest, assured that God knows, and God will take care of the wrongs done in due time.
All these truths are helpful in setting our minds on the blessedness we truly have in simply being believers in Jesus – during the holidays and every other time of the year.  When we know the truth, and can set our minds on it repeatedly and effectively, we begin to find a confidence and a peace seeping into our souls, no matter the negative feelings.  Remember – peace is a knowing, not necessarily a feeling.  Check out these passages (Ephesians 4:23-24, Philippians 4:6-8, Colossians 3:1-3)
On the level of practical things to be done… consider these…
  1. Get out and do something FOR someone else this holiday season.  Let the power of Jesus’ life in you reach out to impact somebody else.  It’s hard to stay focused on your own sadness when you see others blessed by tangible things you’ve done for them through your faith in Christ.  Make this kind of outreach an exciting thing… maybe even doing your best to keep it all completely secret!  Become a distributor of Jesus’ grace to those in need – and see what Jesus does with your depression as a result!
  2. Adopt a new “family” if you need that.  You’ve actually been given a new family in the church.  Spend time with others who know Jesus well and express His joy.  Enjoy the season together, truly celebrating the season of Christ’s arrival to the earth.  Make some new memories of Christmas that in time, will help you to overcome the depressive feelings.
I’ll be praying for you throughout this season… that God will make Himself strong in your heart and mind to overcome the depressive feelings the enemy wants to use to drag you down!
Our Savior lives!

7 thoughts on “Christians – and Holiday Season Depression

  1. In my study on this topic, the Greek term “logizomai” is the English term for “reckon/impute/credit/etc,” (all terms are basically equivalently used) and when I look up that term in a popular Protestant Lexicon here is what it is defined as:

    QUOTE: “This word deals with reality. If I “logizomai” or reckon that my bank book has $25 in it, it has $25 in it. Otherwise I am deceiving myself. This word refers to facts not suppositions.”

    The Protestant Lexicon states this term first and foremost refers to the actual status of something. So if Abraham’s faith is “logizomai as righteousness,” it must be an actually righteous act of faith, otherwise (as the Lexicon says) “I am deceiving myself.” This seems to rule out any notion of an alien righteousness, and instead points to a local/inherent righteousness.

    The Lexicon gives other examples where “logizomai” appears, here are some examples:

    Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude [logizomai] that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

    Rom 4:4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted [logizomai] as a gift but as his due.

    Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon [logizomai] ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Rom 8:18 For I reckon [logizomai] that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

    Notice in these examples that “logizomai” means to consider the actual truth of an object. In 3:28 Paul ‘reckons’ faith saves while the Law does not, this is a fact, the Law never saves. In 4:4 the worker’s wages are ‘reckoned’ as a debt because the boss is in debt to the worker, not giving a gift to him. In 6:11 the Christian is ‘reckoned’ dead to sin because he is in fact dead to sin. In 8:18 Paul ‘reckons’ the present sufferings as having no comparison to Heavenly glory, and that is true because nothing compares to Heavenly glory.

    To use logizomai in the “alien status” way would mean in: (1) 3:28 faith doesn’t really save apart from works, but we are going to go ahead and say it does; (2) 4:4 the boss gives payment to the worker as a gift rather than obligation/debt; (3) 6:11 that we are not really dead to sin but are going to say we are; (4) 8:18 the present sufferings are comparable to Heaven’s glory.
    This cannot be right.

    So when the text plainly says “faith is logizomai as righteousness,” I must read that as ‘faith is reckoned as a truly righteous act’, and that is precisely how Paul explains that phrase in 4:18-22. That despite the doubts that could be raised in Abraham’s heart, his faith grew strong and convinced and “that is why his faith was credited as righteousness” (v4:22). This is also confirmed by noting the only other time “credited as righteousness” appears in Scripture, Psalm 106:30-31, where Phinehas’ righteous action was reckoned as such .

    • Hi Nicolas,

      Thanks for the participation and response…. but I’m not sure how your point relates to the topic at hand. Would you like to clarify what you were driving at?

  2. Hi,

    The post said: “Jesus has given us HIS righteousness! When the Father looks at us, He only sees the goodness of Jesus – imputed/given to us as OURS! ”

    My post came from studying the issue directly from the Bible, and I never see “impute” used in that manner.

    • Thanks for the clarification Nick! I chose the word “imputed” and in doing so was referring to the truths expressed in Romans 8:3-4, and 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 – for example. There is a real sense in which God has GIVEN us the righteousness of Christ… it is not earned by us, but given as an inheritance, if you will, by virtue of what He has accomplished FOR us.

      • Hmm, I look at those two passages and see the opposite of an impute notion. Instead, I see a transforming of the individual’s soul taking place (given the indwelling of the Spirit, for example).

      • Hi again Nick,

        I agree with you whole-heartedly, with the understanding that the giving of the Spirit is the means by which God imputes the righteousness of Christ to us as believers.

  3. Sorry for the late response. I didn’t intend to say that, so I wouldn’t agree with it. The Indwelling of the Spirit makes us righteous.

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