Thursday, December 12, 2013
Why Christmas Makes Me Cry
I don't know about you, but lately when Christmas comes around, I find myself crying more. I think a lot of it has to do with my kids growing up and leaving home. Some of it could be due to the fact that I am not running around with these kid activities and taking kids to school, going to concerts, etc. anymore. Kind of sad. But I wonder if there is another reason for Christmas being a sad time of the year. About a month ago, I found out that someone who was attending our church committed suicide. Last week, a church member's brother was killed while jogging. Another friend's mother passed away. Another friend has an aunt who is declining in health with terminal cancer. A person who had just stepped down as pastor ended his life a couple of days ago. Life is really sad. I wonder if there is any connection to these events and Christmas? I think a couple of things come to mind here; one of them is that loved ones are probably clinging onto life until Christmas, as much as possible. Certainly those who are killed can't do anything about the timing of their deaths though, but it is still very hard to have a loved one die around the holidays. Another thing though, that I think is more prevalent is that people who are depressed, will experience deeper depression around the holidays, especially if they are alone or not in a church body where there is life and community in relationships. People are, by nature, gregarious. No man is an island, as the song goes. We were not intended to live isolated lives. We were not made to have to live hidden lives, yet so many people do. I think if we realize this, it is the first step to helping ourselves if we struggle with depression. The depressed person needs to be in relationships with other people in the church. He or she needs someone who is trusted and who they can confide in. The Enemy of our souls would love nothing more than for us to be destroyed and if we destroy ourselves, so much the better, as far as he is concerned. All of us are vulnerable, to some degree to depression. If we think we are above it, we are deceiving ourselves. That is exactly what the Enemy of our souls wants us to believe. The Enemy of our souls is always lying to us individually, and he has specific lies for us that he knows we will believe. We need to know the Word of God, and be able to use it against the Enemy. The word of God needs to be activated in our hearts, and that will be a guard against the onslaught of the Enemy. The Holy Spirit will activate God's Word in our hearts if we want Him to. So the key weapon is, God's word activated in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. But there are other guards we can have as well. One of them is the church. By church, I mean the body of related believers in Christ. Not every 'church' is a Bible believing, Spirit-filled church though, so we need to find one. Just because it has the label of 'church' doesn't mean it is a functioning church. The church was intended to be a body of related believers who live together in community (not necessarily living in the same house though!). If you go through the New Testament, you will find the term 'one-another' quite often. This is how we are to live our lives. The Christian family is a community of believers who are learning to live a new life in a new way, with new hearts. (For a message about 'one-anothering' please go to http://www.metrolife.org/sermons/sermon/2013-11-17/one-anothering) Around this time of year there are many lonely people around. Some are believers in Jesus Christ, while others have never heard the Gospel. We need to be reaching out to these people, especially this time of year. They are vulnerable to Satan's attacks and do not know how to guard against them yet. I believe that the suicide level will be lower if we minister to these people. This is a good time of year to reach out to the lost. Some have never experienced Christmas with a family. They will never appreciate what most of us have unless they are brought into our families during the holidays. Christmas is a season of giving. But the best gifts are those we give to others. Jesus said that it is better to give than to receive. The joy of giving ourselves to others is priceless. Serving those who are alone at this time of year is very rewarding and can cause a life to be changed forever. I know that next year people will still die at Christmas time. But what I hope is that death will not be caused by suicide. I hope that every lonely person will feel our love and acceptance and that God will provide opportunities for us to take people in, whether it be for Thanksgiving, or a Christmas meal, or some other creative idea that we could do which would include these people. The alternative is that they will be casualties next year, or some later year, because they didn't know how to reach out to us, or they possibly didn't know that we would receive them and didn't want to try. So, some ideas I have, and there are certainly way more than I can come up with, are; having people over for the Thanksgiving dinner, having people over for a Christmas meal, making gifts for neighbors and spending time talking with them (this is a hard one for me!). Please feel free to post any ideas you have. If you are alone this holiday season, please, I beg you to try to reach out to those in the church. Find a church that teaches the word of God and has relationships going. You will be pleasantly surprised when you meet the right group of people and get involved!