A Letter of Hope for Those Who Are Thankful the Holidays Are Over
A Letter of Hope for Those Who Are Thankful the Holidays Are Over
Vivian Bricker Contributing Writer
The great thing is that God is with us before, during, and after holidays. In other words, whether it is a holiday or after a holiday, the Lord is always there. He loves you and He will make you strong, firm, and steadfast (1 Peter 5:10). Where there is God, there is always hope.
After the end of the holidays, many people grow sad that the festive time is over. The bright lights are turned off, the Christmas tree is taken down, and the decorations are stored away for next year. Although there are many downcasted faces at the end of the holidays, there are many people who are thankful the holidays are over. If you are thankful the holidays are over, know you are not alone. This is a letter of hope for those who are thankful that the holly and jolly of the season are gone.
The End of the Holidays
For various reasons, the holidays can be stressful, depressing, or upsetting. Rather than being sad over the end of the holiday season, many people breathe a sigh of relief. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year are all bustling holidays filled with people, celebrations, and festivals. If you have recently lost a loved one, gone through a divorce, or received news of a terminal illness, you may have not felt like celebrating the holidays. Even if you were simply stressed from all the holiday shopping and baking, you may find peace when January 2nd rolls around.
Holidays, especially Christmas, are supposed to be times of love and hope. I have experienced grief, depression, and stress around the holidays just like you. The day after Christmas was a huge relief for me not only this year but every year since Mom passed in 2016. Christmas doesn't feel the same without her, and it feels wrong to celebrate the holiday when she's not here. I didn’t want to celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving, or New Year's that year-- or really any year after that. Why celebrate if all I can do is cry until there are no more tears to be cried? I feel completely hopeless, upset, and depressed that others can celebrate this holiday with happiness while my family and I sink deeper into the depths of grief.
When the holiday season is over, it feels good to get away from the “holly jolly season.” It feels even better to avoid seeing families together with their mothers because it reminds me that I don't have my mother anymore. Seeing mothers with their children around the Christmas tree or Christmas shopping makes me feel sad and depressed about my own life. Once the holiday season is over, kids go back to school and parents return to work. In other words, I can be relieved of seeing mothers with their children at least Monday through Friday.
Maybe you can relate to this. Understand that there is nothing wrong with being thankful that the holidays have ended. Stressful situations are another common reason why people yearn for the festive season to be over. Attending huge family gatherings and speaking with argumentative or difficult family members can cause great stress for a person. I know many people who are relieved to step out the front door of their family's house after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner into the bitter winter weather just to get away from stressful conversations. If this is you, you’re not alone. We sigh with relief to know that the holidays are over… until the next year arrives with the same feelings, worries, and stressors.
Hope for the Future
No matter why you are thankful for the holidays to be over, there is still hope for the future. Oftentimes, it is easy for us to be afraid about the future because of uncertainties and “what-if” scenarios. When we have gone through a traumatic experience or a stressful situation, it can be easy to feel unhopeful for what's next. Thankfully, there is hope for the present and future because of Jesus. Even if our lives today are falling apart because of stress, grief, and tears, our future is bright because of the Messiah. If we have accepted Christ as our Savior and Lord, we have eternal life with God (John 3:16-17).
In the future, God will create a New Heaven and New Earth—the home of righteousness (2 Peter 3:13). There will only be happiness, joy, and love for all eternity with the Lord. There will be no more pain, grief, or death (Revelation 21:4). This should bring great hope and joy to your soul. No matter how hard and difficult life gets here on earth, especially around the holidays, we have the promise of a better future. Instead of focusing on our present-day problems and griefs, we need to look to Jesus. He will provide us with peace, comfort, and love.
Jesus knows what it feels like to be upset, stressed, and depressed. He can help us when we feel bad and give us lasting comfort and joy. Holidays are meant to be joyful and full of happiness; however, sometimes they simply are just not. If you feel thankful for the ending of the holidays, know that there is hope for happier days ahead. Even if we have hard times in our present, earthly lives, we know that in the future, we will forever be joyful with the Lord in the New Heaven and New Earth. Pray to God and tell Him about your worries and concerns. Let Him know how difficult the holiday season was for you and ask Him to wrap you up in the shadow of His arms. Place all of your worries, concerns, and prayers at His feet. The death of a loved one, a traumatic experience, or a terminal illness may cause us to feel alone, but we are not alone and we are not without hope. God is always with us, and with God, there is always hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (ESV). Everything written in the Bible is meant to encourage us and give us hope for our future with Christ (Romans 15:4). Our hope is not based on the present world, other people, or the fleeting bustle of a happy holiday season. Our hope is based on the Lord Almighty. Psalm 39 says. “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you” (ESV). We do not have to lose heart because Jesus will renew our hearts with the hope of being with Him in Heaven one day. Even amidst the tears, pain, and heartache, we know that we can have hope in the Lord.
Ready for the Future
The holidays have come to an end and we are in a new year, but when this year closes, the holidays will roll around once more (and we still may be thankful when they end). Losing loved ones, ending relationships, and illnesses can cause us to dread holidays. Even when we are in these hard and dark times, there is hope because of Jesus. The Lord is the burning light in our souls that lights up an entire room in an instant. Hope in Him will never disappoint because He is always there with us. Even when we don’t “feel” Him, He is there.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day are all over, which can leave many of us sighing with relief. If the holidays brought you tears, sadness, or pain, rest in the peace that there is hope in Christ. The reality of your grief, pain, or stress is real and it is okay to feel relief after the end of the holiday season. The great thing is that God is with us before, during, and after holidays. In other words, whether it is a holiday or after a holiday, the Lord is always there. He loves you and He will make you strong, firm, and steadfast (1 Peter 5:10). Where there is God, there is always hope.
Photo Credit: © Unsplash/Noah Benjamin
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Christian Ministry and is currently working toward her Master’s Degree. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is probably embarking on an adventure.