“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’” Luke 2:10-13
I was saddened to read an article in Psychology Today that said, “We are told that Christmas, for Christians, should be the happiest time of year, an opportunity to be joyful and grateful with family, friends and colleagues. Yet, according to the National Institute of Health, Christmas is the time of year that people experience a high incidence of depression. Hospitals and police forces report high incidences of suicide and attempted suicide.”
I believe the reason so many Christians suffer with depression during the Christmas season is because of who they are listening to, or to put it another way, who they aren’t listening to. It would make all the difference if instead of getting caught up in the latest news and listening to the wisdom of the world, we turned our attention to the angels who proclaimed, “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”
The people in Jesus’ day dealt with the same sort of things we are dealing with today, if not even more extreme. They dealt with poverty, prejudice and political problems far worse than we do today. If we lived during that time, we would have assumed the Savior of the world would be born in a temple or palace wrapped in a royal robe in Jerusalem, but He chose to be born in a manger in Bethlehem. Why? Many of us know the answer because we’ve read it in scripture. We have listened to sermons on the subject our entire lives. If we know the answer, why is there such a high incidence of depression?
I read a story about a European monarch who would often walk incognito amongst his people. When he was asked not to do so for security’s sake, he answered, “I cannot rule my people unless I know how they live.” One of the greatest comforts we have as Christians is knowing our God can sympathize with us because He too lived this life and faced the worst of it.
If you are feeling depressed this Christmas season, stop listening to the news and the wisdom of the world and open your ears only to the good news of Hebrews 4:15-16 that tells us “we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Join us this Sunday for a special Christmas message titled “Of Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men!” God bless you all and hope to see you there!