For most people the Holiday season is a season of joy. Time off from work, family traditions for Christmas and New Years, and oh yes…presents! These are all tidings of joy. It is a time to relax and enjoy some time with friends and family, but most of all a time to celebrate the coming of our Savior.
But for more people than you might think, the Holidays are a time of depression. Many people spend this season alone. Some spend it with dysfunctional families that are anything but joyful or relaxing. Many more are under so much stress that joy is a myth. They have no concept of a Savior that loves them.
Did you know that;
- 30% of millennials said they always or often felt lonely, compared with 20% of Generation X and 15% of boomers.
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.
- Between 1999 and 2016, the rate of suicide increased by 30 %
- In the US military, there have been 45,000 suicides in the past 6 years
- Since 2013, millennials have seen a 47% increase in major-depression diagnoses.
- Suicide rates are highest among people divorced or separated — with a rate of 19 per 100,000 — 24% higher than those who are single
- Depression can actually change your ability to think and hinder your decision making
- Single parent homes are under increased stress during the holidays due to financial pressures and family issues
Here’s a shocker:
I was recently invited to give several suicide prevention classes to soldiers on a nearby base (the Army calls them “posts”). In all, there were about 700 soldiers that I talked with. The shocker is that one third to one half of these guys said they personally knew someone who had taken their own life. To these soldiers dealing with the realities of depression and suicide was a common occurrence.
For those of you that are really looking forward to Christmas, please remember that not everyone is as blessed as you.
- Take a moment to pray for other people this season., and
- if you have the opportunity please help someone else.
- If a friend or family member calls you over the holidays take an extra moment to really hear them. It might make a bigger difference than you think.
For those of you that Christmas only brings depression here are a few thoughts for you:
- Be around friends. Being alone over the holidays is a very bad idea.
- Call a friend or family member if you are feeling lonely or depressed
- Avoid boredom
- Think about good, exciting, fun stuff
The real reason we celebrate these holidays is to remember that we are ushering in an age of love from a Father that gave us His son to remove our bondage and replace it with joy.
My Christmas wish for you is that this season you get a greater revelation of God’s love for you. That is the only real source of peace and joy, and the best present you could wish for.