19 September 2017

Are You Melancholy or Merry This Christmas?

Click on each picture above to relive Charlie Brown’s Christmas story.

Christmas is supposed to be a time of great joy; as the songs say, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” And, “City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, meeting smile after smile.” And finally, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” I remember a high school teacher who asked me if I’d gotten the Christmas “spirit” yet. I hadn’t, and I wondered what was wrong with me. Maybe you haven’t gotten the Christmas spirit this year, and you’re wondering if there is something wrong with you.

Melancholy or Merry?

Many of us experience a profound sense of loss during this season of joy. We may find it harder to be cheerful when we don’t have a job. In addition to being unemployed, many of us are more worried about making the mortgage payment than buying Christmas presents. On top of this, maybe we’ve lost our health, or we’re coping with the poor health of a loved one; things seem overwhelming. Some marriages are at the breaking point; families teeter above the great chasm of divorce. Other marriages have failed. Some of us have relatives deployed overseas. Some will cope with our first Christmas after the death of a child, spouse, parent, sibling or close friend.

Some of us feel hurt, fear and frustration as the days drone on and on without a faint shadow of a job anywhere in sight. All these sensations are often more poignant at Christmas when everyone else seems so happy.

Sometimes the seasons of the year aren’t synched up with the seasons of our life. If you’re melancholy this Christmas, that’s okay! Hang in there! I have good news: you’re going to get a job – it’s not a matter of “if” but “when.” More good news: at JobSeekers, we love you and want to walk with you on your journey. Even more good news: God loves you in the midst of your melancholy mood.

If you’re melancholy instead of merry this Christmas, here’s what I recommend:

1. Be your authentic self.

Don’t pretend you’re happy when you’re not. I know someone who took his own life on Christmas Eve; he was the “happiest” person you’d want to meet, or so we thought. Be your authentic self. Bottled up negative feelings are like a cancer inside your body; they will do their best to kill you. Be joyful with most people, but with a few, take your mask off. Tell God and three trusted advisors how you are really feeling.

Healing power is on the way.

2. Never, never, never give up.

Don’t give up; how are you going to find a job if you give up? Many job seekers talk about the emotional roller coaster of job search. On the roller coaster, at least, good days offset some of the bad days. Others, however, talk about the downward spiral. This is more troubling because life gets darker and darker; hope less and less. Fight back! Hope is to the soul what air is to the body; have hope in spite of your circumstances.

Renewed hope is on the way.

3. Think RED For the Holidays.

Rest, exercise and diet form the three-legged stool of good physical and mental health. Articles on conquering the blues consistently list these three items as keys to success. Instead of backsliding during the holiday season, take steps today to make incremental improvements in your rest, exercise and diet patterns. Next week, take another step. I’ve shed 15 pounds in the past three years by making incremental improvements in my rest, exercise and diet. My goal was never to lose weight; my goal is to live healtheir.

Better health is on the way.

4. Volunteer.

Psychologist Joan Borysenko, PhD, says, “Deliver presents for Santa or help at a homeless shelter. This is really the top thing that people can do to turn their holiday blues around. Altruism and volunteerism make you feel better about yourself; they also get you out of your rut, your home and your isolation. This is a time of year where the spirit of helping and compassion is right there. If you can tap into it by helping others, that’s great!”

Fulfillment is on the way.

5. Have faith in God.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see.” You may not see a new job on the horizon or an end to your financial struggles. You may not see an end to other difficulties you are facing. God is at work in your life, even when you can’t see the fruits of his work. Don’t lose faith!

A new job, brighter days and happier times are on the way.

6. Rejoice anyway.

God doesn’t promise our lives will be easy, but he does promise to always be with us. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) And in the last verse of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus promises, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Rejoice in Immanuel – God with us.

Joy is on the way.

7. Remember the best news of all.

If you’re melancholy instead of merry, know this: Christ was born to be with you, especially during the most difficult days of your life. When everything else you hold dear is gone, you still have the love of God. God’s gift to you is his son Jesus. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Christ is on the way.

The Light of the World Shines on Us

Healing power, renewed hope, better health, more fulfillment, brighter days, happier times, greater joy, and new jobs are on the way. Best of all, Christ is on the way. Ask God to have mercy on you. Lay your burdens at the foot of the cross; the cross where he died for you. Lift your eyes to him. Ask him to come into your heart so you can feel the warmth of his presence. Place your hope in him – your strength and redeemer. Ask for his blessings so you may bless others. Thank him for loving you, and for reminding you of his love by sending the Light of the World in the form of an infant son.

See you Friday at JobSeekers, where we rejoice in Immanuel – God with us.

BTW, this is the 51st anniversary of Charlie Brown’s Christmas special.

Copyright © 2016 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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