When the Holiday Season is Hard – Proverbs 3:5-8

The transition from fall to winter is a gloomy time for some. In addition to the pressure of navigating the holidays, seasonal weather patterns also can make life challenging, especially for those who miss the sunshine.

For me, gray, overcast days don’t have a negative effect. I’ve loved clouds since I was a little girl, even to the point of getting excited during thunderstorms. What does mess with my emotions, though, is preparing for family events. That can make me a wreck!

Why do we repeat the cycles of past holidays when we make plans, raise expectations, anticipate joy, dread discomfort, and crash when it’s all over?

I have other struggles during this season when I find it easier to feel down. Pain that limits what I can do. The struggle for sleep – only four hours then I’m awake. Why? And a course change, once again, with my writing work.

My mother died the day after Christmas in 2019. Both blessing and hurt roll over me when I think about her passing. Family members came from miles away to comfort and support each other – I miss that. And Mom, my dearest friend, is out of reach.

There’s a lot I don’t like about this season of my life, but here’s the truth. I will trust God.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Proverbs 3:5-8 ESV

As I do any other time of the year, I put (notice the next word) all my trust in God. This requires some serious self talk on my part, rehearsing the truth of how big he is, how thoroughly he has proved his love, and how devoted he is to saving all of us.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God . . .

Psalm 42:5-6 ESV

And in all (there’s that word again) the steps I take, I acknowledge him. I do this because, more than anything, I want to always (in all my ways) be aware that he is with me.

Then, instead of staying in the hurt, I think of my mother as she delivered what was probably her final joke.  We were gathered around her deathbed when someone mentioned Christmas gifts. In her sweet, understated way she offered,

“Well, you don’t have to get me anything.”

During my mother’s last days with us, as far as I could tell, she didn’t become stressed out about anything. She had long practiced putting her trust in God, and that was enough.

This post is to be published on New Year’s Day 2022, so instead of wishing you a happy new year (because happiness may take its time coming around), I ask God to bless you with the healing and refreshment mentioned in Proverbs 3 as you trust him in the days ahead.

Kathy Sheldon Davis

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