Talked to a lady yesterday who had lost three loved ones in two years; two of them died on Christmas day. Made me realize that what most of us experience as an exceptionally happy season is, for some, a painful time.
Did a brief online search and found several articles about holiday depression. According to these writers, the major reasons for it are one, missing loved ones who are no longer here to enjoy this special time together and, two, hard times seem even harder when we compare them with brighter days (i.e. our memories of Christmases past).
I’ve read somewhere that the suicide rates are higher at Christmas, too. But checked snopes.com, which says the stats don’t bear this out. Snopes also disputes the claim that depression is more common on Christmas.
But, regardless of the figures, my conversation yesterday reminded me that suffering is no respecter of seasons. Some will wake up Christmas morning sad or lonely or hurting or fearful or all four.
I think it makes the Christmas message even better. For the Baby in Bethlehem’s manger came to “bring good news to the afflicted,” to “bind up the brokenhearted,” and to “comfort all who mourn” (from Isaiah 61).
The angel speaking to the shepherds that night was right. It is “good news” of “great joy” for “all the people” (Luke 2:10). Even those who are sad.