Elvis may have popularized the notion of a “Blue Christmas,” but it is an actual day during Advent that marks the winter solstice, the longest night of the year that falls on or about December 21st. Some churches hold a service of worship that recognizes the holidays are sometimes “blue” or riddled with remorse and disturbing emotions associated with painful life events such as death, disease, poverty, or abuse. Not everyone is brimming with cheer and good will for the holidays. There is a positive trend toward growing attentiveness to the needs of people who are blue at Christmas and granting sacred space for people living through dark times, but how do you respond during the holidays when you are the target of someone else’s emotional assault? Is it even possible to experience healing and hope when circumstances conspire to rob your joy against the backdrop of this special time of year?
Sadly, holiday grief is often inflicted by those who are closest to us. There is no sting quite like that of a wound inflicted by a family member, especially when you are blindsided during the holidays. Et tu, Brute? Relational stabbing plunges deeper than other wounds because family is supposed to be safe space, one’s very own God-ordained support group. The holidays get ugly when a family member turns, leaving a war of emotion that feels anything but festive in its wake. You may be at fault or merely an innocent victim; the hurt is the same. I am attempting to follow my own advice, and you may benefit from applying one or more of the following to re-color and reclaim your otherwise “Blue” Christmas:
1. Examine yourself and the hurtful relationship honestly. Confess fault, but don’t accept blame that isn’t yours. More than anything, do not self-inflict shame. God convicts; Satan doles out shame.
2. Recognize what is out of your control, and relinquish the hurt along with the outcome to the Spirit of God.
3. Refuse to allow bitterness to take root (Hebrews 12:15).
4. Return to white-hot devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. The unmistakable and fool-proof remedy for a Blue Christmas is unadulterated adoration of the Christ child, Almighty God incarnate, the Holy Eternal One wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. O come let us adore Him.
“Father, forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.”