Are You Ready for the Holidays? - Girlfriends in God - December 9, 2014

Published: Dec 09, 2014

December 9, 2014
Are You Ready for the Holidays?
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. (Luke 2:16, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Are you ready for the holidays?

For some people, that question spurs exciting thoughts of beautifully decorated tables filled with scrumptious meals, festive shopping trips, extended family time, brightly wrapped gifts under a tree … the “Walton” kind of holiday.

For others, the holiday season is a very difficult and dark time to endure rather than enjoy.

I am very familiar with depression and the pain it holds. In fact, staying out of that pit is a daily battle for me.

Depression is an emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual disorder. Something is out of balance. It may be a chemical imbalance, or we may have buried some pain instead of confronting it. The factors that can trigger depression are many. In order to deal with depression, we must first come to a place of total and complete surrender to God and His plan of healing, even if we cannot see or do not understand that plan.

The bottom line of God’s heart toward His children is always restoration and healing.  

While I am not a big fan of television, I do enjoy watching certain home improvement shows. On a recent program, an interior decorator and homeowner were discussing a list of changes that needed to be made in order to update the home. 

“First, we have to do something about those windows,” the decorator announced. I was surprised that she had listed this task first – until I saw the house. The existing glass was not only an ugly shade of gold, but it was thick and chunky as well. The windows let in no light and made it virtually impossible to see in or out. The result was a dark, isolated home.

The distressed homeowner protested, “But I like my privacy. And if I thought anyone could see in, I would feel totally exposed.” When it comes to dealing with depression, many people feel the same way. 

We construct walls over which no one can climb because the cost of friendship is too high.

We fill the windows of our soul with emotional excuses in order to avoid dealing with pain.

The result is darkness, loneliness, and missed opportunities for restoration. We don’t want to understand depression or find the treasures of that darkness; we simply want to be rid of it.

Many people try to understand and deal with depression on a surface level – refusing to face painful experiences, difficult relationships, and the broken places where darkness lives. We look for the nearest exit, hoping to bypass transparency because the price is just too much to pay.

Emotional integrity is an essential step to recognizing, understanding, and dealing with depression. We must be real before we can be right.

And until we are willing to risk being transparent, we can neither understand nor effectively deal with depression during the holidays - or any other time of the year.    

The holidays seem to tug at the masks we carefully hold in place.

The smiling faces on every Christmas commercial push the emotional buttons we desperately try to hide.

The arrival of family members resurrects painful issues that have never really been resolved.

Financial pressure opens up like a sinkhole waiting to steal our joy and destroy our peace.

Schedules demand every ounce of energy, and false expectations leave us empty and hollow.

Before we realize it, we are sitting at the bottom of that dark, slimy pit.

It is not supposed to be that way, girlfriend! Now is the time to do something about it!

Christmas can be a true celebration of fresh starts and new beginnings … if we choose to focus on that tiny baby born in a manger, come to save us and give us true life. 

The darkness can be destroyed if we choose to face and deal with whatever it holds. Right now, get ready for the holidays by choosing an attitude of joy, by focusing your mind on the things of heaven – not earth, and by fixing your heart on Jesus Christ.  

Let’s Pray

Father, I want this holiday season to be filled with light instead of darkness. Help me to be real. Help me to encourage others. Father, prepare and enable me to make this holiday season an offering of praise to You. 

In Jesus’ name,


Now It’s Your Turn

Take a few moments to re-visit the holiday season of 2013. 

  • What was the best part of those holidays for you? Why?
  • List three changes you would like to make this year.
  • What is the first step you need to take to make those changes happen?

More from your Girlfriends

Check out my MP3, The Secret of a Merry Christmas. I really believe it will help you learn how to prevent and control holiday stress, how to give God the gifts He wants to receive from us, and how to give ten wonderful gifts without spending a dime. And be sure to connect with me through email or on my Facebook page. I love hearing what God is doing in your life!

Seeking God?
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 1311
Huntersville, NC 28070

Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.

Originally published Tuesday, 09 December 2014.