How to Cope at Christmas Time

How to Cope with Frustration, Disappointment, and Fear at Christmas Time

Sunday Scripture

When I showed up at her door with muffins, I had no idea how sick she had become or how short her precipitous decline would be. In hindsight, I’m grateful for the memory of that last visit with a friend, with her flitting between table and kitchen counter and me working hard to absorb the sad truth my eyes were sending to my brain.

In-person visits were always my friend’s love language, and maybe that’s true of us all. After all, time and space limit us to just-one-place-at-a-time living–this place, those people. It feels significant to be chosen, to receive the gift of presence.

The gift of presence is the incredible Why behind Christmas. God, utterly separate from us in nature, came near. We could never have constructed a ladder or a thought process or a code of conduct sufficient to bridge the gap between God and humanity.

So he did it.

Taking the initiative in every way, God came to us, became like us, took on the only form we could understand–human flesh and blood, muscle and bone. He chose confinement, vulnerability, limitation, and, ultimately, death.

If your present circumstances have you careening into the Christmas season feeling detached from the merriment and wondering what all the fuss is about, why not take one step back from the holly-jolly holiday side of the season and ponder the reality of a God who has experienced pain? German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from a Nazi prison camp his own well-researched conclusion:

Only a Suffering God can help.”

Scripture’s startling assertion that somehow the Son of God “learned obedience” through his suffering reminds me that I may have a thing or two to learn from the same teacher. And yet it’s not a process I ever welcome.

The writer of Hebrews was walking the same tightrope we have all walked (at varying heights) in 2021. Even with the realization that Jesus came to rule and reign, it’s apparent that “we do not yet see all things put under him” (Hebrews 2:8). Even so, he presses on to a clear view which changes everything:

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

Hebrews 2:9

Christmas plans may be canceled, convoluted, or cut off at the root… but we see Jesus.
A tight budget limits or even stifles gift-giving… but we see Jesus.
Relational dysfunction makes the family gathering a thing to dread… but we see Jesus who has tasted sorrow because he became one of us, lived, and died as one of us.

Let him carry your load of frustration, disappointment, or fear throughout this Advent season. Open your heart to the help of a God who understands suffering.

Holding You in the Light,

Scripture’s startling assertion that somehow Jesus “learned obedience” through his suffering reminds me that I may have a thing or two to learn from the same teacher. And yet it’s not a process I ever welcome.

It’s Not too Late to Begin Your Celebration of the Light this Advent Season

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35 thoughts on “How to Cope with Frustration, Disappointment, and Fear at Christmas Time”

  1. Many years ago, back when bills still came in an envelope, my electric company monthly statement included a separate card with a pithy, usually uplifting, quote printed on it. I always read them and took them in internally but there was one that so impressed me I saved it, tucking it away in the back of my Bible. It said, “To be happy we need three things, something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to.” I edited that down to Purpose, Love, Hope.

    Over the next fifty years of living, loving and surviving I kept that concept as a life raft. As I matured in the spirit as well as the flesh, I have slowly come to interpret everything based on Christ’s purpose, love and hope – for us. What He did established the reason for our existence, the way for us to be and the assurance that no matter how bad the waves are that wash over us, He is our life raft.

    Thank you for the letter – I had almost forgotten how good it is to open an envelope and find a bit of good news. Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family. Thank you for your perseverance and dedication to sharing purpose, love and hope.

    Like

  2. “The gift of presence is the incredible Why behind Christmas.” Lately I’ve been thinking about God’s promises through history to be with us, and then all the effort He made to fulfill those promises. Then our church is reading through Judges, where everyone “did what was right in his own eyes”–much like today. What wondrous grace He shows us.

    Like

  3. Many years ago, back when bills still came in an envelope, my electric company monthly statement included a separate card with a pithy, usually uplifting, quote printed on it. I always read them and took them internally but there was one that so impressed me I saved it, tucking it away in the back of my Bible. It said, “To be happy we need three things, something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to.” I edited that down to Purpose, Love, Hope.

    Over the next fifty years of living, loving and surviving I kept that concept as a life raft. As I matured in the spirit as well as the flesh, I have slowly come to interpret everything based on Christ’s purpose, love and hope – for us. What He did established the reason for our existence (purpose), the way for us to be (love) and the assurance that no matter how bad the waves are that wash over us, He is our life raft of hope.

    Thank you for the letter – I had almost forgotten how good it is to open an envelope and find a bit of good news. Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family. Thank you for your perseverance and dedication to sharing purpose, love and hope.

    Like

  4. As always, Michele, I loved your posts. Two thoughts stood out to me: He gave the gift of Presence – and yet that is one I have such trouble in imitatintg. And only a suffering God can help. Wow!

    Like

  5. Michele, I appreciate your blessed message. So powerful > “ God came to us, became like us, took on the only form we could understand–human flesh and blood, muscle and bone. He chose confinement, vulnerability, limitation, and, ultimately, death.”

    Like

  6. Thanks for sharing this.
    It can be easy to become frustrated, and I can relate to the issue of lack of finances during the gifting season. But it will all work out.

    Blessings
    Laurie
    Ridge Haven Homestead
    Homestead Blog Hop

    Like

  7. Thank you for sharing your post on our Linky, May you have a blessed Christmas, and see you at our next Linkup on Jan 3, 2022. I have shared your post

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love this so much, especially your last sentence–Open your heart to the help of a God who understands suffering.

    He understands everything we go through, so we need to keep trusting Him even when we feel like He seems so far away.

    Like

  9. I keep telling people who complain their Christmas plans could get changed that the 25th December occurs every year regardless of covid and government changes.Thank you for linking with #pocolo and wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

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