Michigan Pastor Gives Seven Things Depressed Christians Can Do to Navigate the Christmas Season

The holidays can be hard on those who struggle with depression.

“The thought of mixing with happy people fills you with dread. The thought of remembering lost loved ones fills you with gloom. How can people be so happy when you are so sad? How can people celebrate when you are in mourning? It jars your soul and scrapes your tender wounds, doesn’t it?” said David Murray, professor of Old Testament and practical theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and pastor of Grand Rapids Free Reformed Church in Michigan, on Crossway.org.

The pastor, who is also an author, warned that hiding away or lashing out will not help with depression, but will only make it worse. With that in mind, he proposed seven suggestions for Christians to navigate Christmas that will also help with their healing.

Murray started off with what he called the “too obvious” suggestion to pray, but said that sometimes people miss the obvious.

“Plead: ‘Lord, I am weak, I need your power, I need your patience, I need your joy.’ Promise: ‘I will rely on you alone to carry me and even use this time for my help and healing.’ It’s amazing how the gospel can turn the greatest pain into the greatest therapy,” he wrote.

Next, those struggling should share with their friends and family about their depression and ask for prayers and protection from those who don’t understand what they’re going through.

Thirdly, he urged Christians to make plans carefully over Christmas, warning that too much withdrawal from social events “will only depress you further; but so will total immersion.”

“So, plan ahead and choose wisely which social occasions you will go to and how long to spend there. Perhaps try to avoid going to too many gatherings on consecutive days or evenings. You need downtime to be quiet and to refuel,” he pointed out.

Murray then talked about the importance of having a regular routine, which he said is vital for those struggling with depression.

“Your body, mind, and soul flourish when you are following a predictable pattern of sleeping, eating, working, and relaxing. All this is threatened by the irregularity and unpredictability of the holidays,” he noted.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov