Fighting the Christmas Blues
Pastor, if you are anything like me, you get pumped for Christmas. My advent season always starts off on a note of optimism. You are hopeful that the neighbors you’ve been inviting to your church for months finally come to one of your Christmas Eve Services. This could be the year when all those PTA relationships that your wife has been cultivating might bring some new families through the door. Christmas for me has always been synonymous with hope (especially as it relates to church life and ministry).
But the Christmas blues came early this year. On the first Sunday of advent we planned a free evening Christmas concert—with Melanie Penn and her band. We even had free Norwegian Waffles (my great grandmother’s recipe) and free Mexican hot chocolate. I printed and posted flyers in the neighborhood. I took out Facebook ads for our area. I’ve been talking about it to our church and our community, trying to get them excited for our season of Advent.
Then… the Wednesday before the concert, my back seizes up like a ball of rubber bands. Herniated disc. The Thursday before the concert a pipe cracks in our kitchen and we have to call our insurance (our kitchen is still non-functioning). Sunday first service was lightly attended. Our second service was lighter. (This is especially uncharacteristic because it is communion Sunday and normally almost everyone shows up.) I figured the concert would be packed because so many had missed church, but it wasn’t. We might have had 60 people (and I was hoping for about 140).
I was discouraged. I was frustrated. I was mad. I just wanted to crawl under the covers and hibernate for about a month. The Christmas Blues had overshadowed me and it was only December 2.
You may be one of those rare pastors who seldom gets discouraged, whose church is always bursting at the seams, and whose optimism vanquishes any hints of depression. God bless you brother! I suspect however that there are some others of my “ilk” out there. Let me tell you how the Lord helped me beat the blues.
I was going to skip prayer meeting today. I have an excuse. It is raining in Southern California and my back is still bothering me. In fact when I walked into the prayer meeting someone told me they hoped I would have stayed home and rested. That same person normally prepares a Scripture for us to ponder as we open the meeting, but they hadn’t and I hadn’t, but I told them I had something. Psalm 30 came to mind (and I think it was the Holy Spirit that impressed it upon me— that’s what I’m going with).
I’ll be completely honest with you, I didn’t remember what was in Psalm 30, but I turned there and began reading.
Psa. 30:1 I will exalt you, O LORD,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Psa. 30:2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help
and you healed me.
Psa. 30:3 O LORD, you brought me up from the grave;
you spared me from going down into the pit.
Psa. 30:4 Sing to the LORD, you saints of his;
praise his holy name.
Psa. 30:5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Fight the Christmas blues…
- By praying (Calling out to the Lord).
Jesus doesn’t have voicemail. A man – the God man is at the right hand of God interceding for us. He hears us and has the power to act on our behalf.
- By reflecting on God’s deliverance (you brought me up from the pit).
Brother, look back on your life and remember his faithfulness over and over again in individual circumstance and remember his faithfulness in raising you up with Christ (Ephesians 2:6). Christ is risen and you have been raised with Him.
By singing ( Sing to the LORD, you saints of his). When David played his harp, demons fled from Saul. Keith Getty tells me that if you combine the words sing, exalt, extol, and its other synonyms, it’s the most frequent command in the Bible.
By remembering His promise (weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning). Joy is coming, of this we can be certain. He always keeps His promises.