Not everybody loves Christmas.
Far from being “the most wonderful time of the year,” for some people the entire holiday season is literally the worst time of the year.
It’s not so much an attitude of “bah, humbug,” from Scrooges who don’t care about Christmas (though there are those, too). I’m talking about people who would really like to have a merry Christmas, but don’t. And though some may be genuinely disappointed that they didn’t get the Red Ryder BB gun they wanted, for most adults a blue Christmas comes from lacking the loving family environment they long for.
As children, most people do have some kind of family to spend the holidays with. And in the past, most people got married soon after leaving home and started families of their own.
That’s not really the case today, since only one in four Millennials (adults under age 33) are married, and those who do get married are tying the knot later in life (6 years later, on average, than our grandparents’ generation).
Since this generation is also more likely to come from broken homes,that means the holidays often don’t resemble the ideal family get-together. Important people may be missing from the picture, or you may not have anyone to spend Christmas with at all.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
So what do you do if your Christmas doesn’t bring you any cheer? A few thoughts:
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy. It keeps us from being happy with what we have, because you can always find someone who appears to have more. Social media doesn’t help, as people generally only post things that paint their lives in a good light. Remember, appearances are deceiving.
Have realistic expectations. Disappointment comes from unmet expectations. Don’t expect to have a perfect Christmas, since that never really happens. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be enjoyable. And there’s no rule saying that your Christmas must look a certain way, with a “traditional” tree and lights and presents and eggnog. You are free to set your own traditions.
Remember the point of it all. Christmas is a celebration of the fact that we have a God who loves us enough to pursue us, so that we never have to be truly alone. He sent His Son to pay for the sins of our broken world, so that we can have life and be together eternally (John 3:16).
Celebrate with your forever family. It’s not good to be alone (Genesis 2:18). That doesn’t mean you can’t spend some time by yourself; for some people, spending a quiet day alone could be the most refreshing gift they could get. But we shouldn’t be unknown and without anyone who loves us. If you don’t have that from your biological or legal family, remember that all believers are adopted into the same family (Matthew 12:48-50; Romans 12:5). That’s one of the reasons we emphasize community: so you have others who will love you and look out for you. Get together with some of them for the holidays.
On that last point, I would encourage those who do have a holiday celebration planned to proactively invite anyone they’re in community with who doesn’t have a place to go. It’s simply more welcoming and loving that way, rather than the individual trying to invite himself or herself over. If you’re the one who is alone for the holidays, your responsibility is to be open and honest with your community about your situation and how you feel, so that they know you would appreciate help.
If you don’t have that kind of biblical community around you, we'd love to help you change that.
How do you celebrate Christmas?
(With help from Kevin McConaghy)