The post-holiday blues always seem to get me the day after Christmas. Obviously this isn’t a new problem, because this year I decided to search for some quick cures for these temporary blues on my computer—and what popped up was a newspaper column I wrote twenty years ago! What was my own advice to myself? Count your blessings. So I did, and I felt better immediately.
Both of the churches we regularly attend (long story) focused on the gift of joy this Christmas season, with the JOY candle shining brightly in their advent wreathes. In my son Tim’s church, the whole advent theme was Time for Joy, and they even had a red tractor in the entryway of the church to represent the fact that abiding joy in Christ can be cultivated through all of life’s seasons.
That’s another great cure for the post-holiday blues, remembering that joy isn’t only a gift at Christmas time, but can be ours all year long when we know where to search for it.
Chuck Swindoll knows. He had this to say about post-holiday blues in his book Come Before Winter: “When the wrappings and ribbons are in the trash, the manger scene is back in the attic, the friends and family have said good-bye, and the house feels empty and so do you—there is One who waits to fill your heart and renew your hope.”
The same One will restore your joy, and those who may have had much more than temporary blues throughout this Christmas season could need restoration. Even if we are in a good place emotionally, physically, and spiritually when the holiday season rolls around, we can still find it challenging. The busier schedule, the memories of people we have lost, the nostalgia, the unreasonable expectations, can all take a toll on our peace of mind and well-being. When someone is actively grieving the loss of someone they loved, or life has delivered a significant blow of any kind, it can be especially difficult to get through the holiday season feeling joy-filled.
So we all have to hold fast to whatever joy we can muster—and remember that it can be ours every day of the new year, not just when we are singing “Joy to the World.” We need to “repeat the sounding joy.” We need to seek it out and hold fast to it. And whenever we find we are running low on joy, we need to turn to the Lord and ask Him to fill us up from His infinite supply. (Nehemiah 8:10–“For the joy of the Lord is your strength.”)
Don’t pack away your joy with the Christmas decorations. Keep the joy. When necessary, seek the joy. And have a wonderful New Year!