Christmas time has a way of making us all feel so special. It brings those nostalgic feelings of childhood, the peace of having family and friends around, and the joy of giving. It is the perfect recipe for a great season.
On the other hand, it also has a way of destroying our self-worth. There are often more places to go than we are physically able to make, our hearts sometimes are bigger than our financial abilities allow us to give, and our expectations are at an all time high. This is the perfect recipe for depression. I’m dealing with this right now myself.
Are we rejecting ourselves throughout Christmas? Is God up to something in us during this time or is it all just commercial?
Giving gifts is good because it makes us view others as better than ourselves. It opens the door to show love to those who don’t feel worthy. Not much feels better than giving that wow gift with a smile on our face, and God loves a cheerful giver. It is good to go out of your way to make rounds and see family you may not always see. For them to know that you are going out of your way makes them feel special and boosts their love and worthiness as well. But where does that leave you? The recipients of the gifts can feel love and we feel good about that. The family members that receive our time feel love and we feel great about that, too. But there is something missing in us that feels like we rejected ourselves. We have given ourselves ’til we are on E and feel horrible about ourselves for even wanting some time to ourselves or to our own kids.
In seeking God further through this I am reminded that this life is not made for ease and comfort. We give ourselves thin and we keep on giving because we were freely given to. However, God also knows our limitations. He knows we need to stay full in order to give and I see Him giving us wonderful gifts in this Giving season.
We talked above how Christmas time brings these challenges. We question ourself. We churn in ourselves to figure out just what we are. We ask ourselves, “Am I the type of person that gives no matter what? Can I enjoy making it hard on myself to make it easy for others?” We are torn between ourselves and others. Maybe God is right there with you as you find yourself. If this life is for sharpening, preparing, and solidifying, then these problems we face are no more than exercises in that training. In Romans 5:3-5 we are reminded just what we gain through this whole process:
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
So while Christmas time can be the perfect recipe for both a great season and depression at the same time, God is in the whole thing keeping you full if you are looking for it. As you wrestle within yourself this season to find the right balance of giving and receiving, remember you are receiving perpetual gifts all along the way.