Would you consider yourself an honest person? I am sure most of you would answer that question with “Of course!” Thanksgiving just passed and I hope you were able to be honest at the dinner table without having to hurt your aunties feelings about her casserole. So as we look towards the Christmas season and the New Year, we have to be aware that they can bring up a lot of different emotions for everyone. Maybe this is your first Christmas without a loved one, maybe you’re mending from a breakup, maybe seasonal depression is in full swing, or maybe you are just overwhelmed with how perfect everyone else seems to be. And, if you were honest, you aren’t feeling much like the season that is filled with nostalgia, joy, hope, and love. I want to remind you to be honest. With yourself, with those around you, and most importantly with your Savior.
If I were to ask you how you were feeling approaching the holidays what would say? Would you be honest? Or would you hide the parts that don’t add up with how everyone else thinks your feeling. Proverbs 24:26 says “An honest answer is like a warm hug.” And if I am being frank sometimes that is exactly what we need this season. A hug to slow us down, calm our emotions, and remind us what this season is truly about. So in the discussion of honesty I want to break it down a little deeper.
The word honest itself means to be free from deceit, untruthfulness, and to be sincere. In this season I think it is important that you are sincere in your answers and you are honest with your friends and family. That way you can spend this season focused on what it is truly about. Even in the midst of all the other feelings you’re having.
Being vulnerable here. This season is riddled with difficulty for me. It’s a rocky terrain of anxiety and sometimes isolation. I am one of those people that suffers when the seasons change and the sun goes down at five. I get anxious (panic attacks and all) and I get depressed. Sometimes to the point I find it hard to get out of bed. Most days I am happy to have showered and completed a list of about three things. I have memories surrounding Christmas and the New Year that I don’t care to remember or bring up, but every season that they come back around, it feels like a freight train of fear coming my way. I am incompassitated by the feelings and emotions that overwhelm me, meanwhile I scroll through timelines of people that are jolly, enjoying their candy canes, Christmas trees, and hot chocolate. My own family is busy and trying to keep up with what the holidays “require” of us, so in the past I have found myself being less and less honest. Less honest about my feelings and the wilderness I feel that I am walking through in this season. I let it cover me and I hide it because I am ashamed. I feel guilty because I don’t want to dampen the spirit of Christmas.
But I am so glad the bible tells us a different story about being honest. And about who we can be honest with even in this season. Psalm 34:18 says “If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.”
So what are you feeling this holiday season? Is there something broken? Do you feel like you’ve been kicked in the gut? Panicked over how to make ends meet this year? Or are you just overwhelmed by lists and instagram filters of it all?
I want to challenge you to be honest. Be honest with yourself first. Then choose someone you can rely on and be honest with them. Allow your honesty to feel like a warm hug and weight off your chest. But most importantly be honest with your Savior. Go to the feet of Jesus with the emotions you are feeling and be honest. I am not just talking about transparency. Don’t just go with a list of emotions you are feeling, be vulnerable. Because there is a difference. Transparency is me telling you that I am overwhelmed this season. But vulnerability says I am overwhelmed because this is the second Christmas I have spent battling panic attacks and depression. Go tell a person you trust about the wilderness you’re walking through, because if you don’t, they won’t know you need to be found. And remember don’t just give God your what. Give Him your why. And let him take the weight off of you this season. Allow Him to help you embrace all the emotions you are feeling in this season. Because joy and sorrow can be felt together. They do not have to be separate.
Whether you are up or down allow your honesty with God to wrap you in His arms this season, and amidst all the emotions you may be feeling let Him show you the wonder that is the celebration of a Savior being born.
Maggie is a Psychology Enthusiast, Writer, and an Advocate for Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing. She has walked through brokenness and learned that she’s not alone there. She wants to bring radical, relatable, and raw content that allows people to see into her journey and find hope there that illuminates their darkness. Connect with Maggie to learn more.