Finding Hope in a Blue Christmas

Welcome to Real Life. Not every Christmas is a merry one.
“I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.” –Charlie Brown from A Charlie Brown Christmas
It’s the Sunday before Christmas and I’m feeling blue.[1] I’m sick, again, and on my second round of antibiotics. I can’t seem to shake this virus.

Since I haven’t felt well, I put off Christmas preparations. Now, the holiday is upon me and I’m overwhelmed. Yesterday, I pushed through a day of baking Christmas cookies with my elderly parents who are staying with me. Even feeling lousy, I thought that with enough caffeine, baking together would make a precious memory. I was wrong. I ended up working to get it done, with few words and little joy. The day will be a memory alright, just not a fond one.

Still feeling poorly this morning, I debated whether or not to attend church. I decided the sermon might lift my spirits. So, I went.

Instead of his normal message, my pastor conducted three interviews with people from our congregation. Last December, each had suffered a crisis. Actually, all of them had occupied the same hospital’s intensive care unit over the holidays.

The first couple’s seven-year-old son tumbled down a flight of stairs two days before Christmas. This resulted in a brain hematoma which required emergency surgery. The family recently converted from Islam to Christianity. Their Muslim relatives blamed the incident on the conversion: Allah was punishing them. Yet, these same family members were amazed by the outpouring of love and support from our church. The wife said, “My brothers and sisters in Christ are my true family. We’ll spend eternity together.” Their son fully recovered.

In the second interview, a man was driving to work when his car hit black ice on the freeway. It spun hard into a tree. For three weeks, he lay comatose on life support. He survived, but just barely. The doctors call it a miracle. His wife told how God’s strength and peace carried her and their young daughters through the crisis. This man has healed with only minor side effects from the accident.

The last interview featured a woman whose car died while driving in a snowstorm. She pulled to the side of the road. While bent over the trunk to retrieve jumper cables, she heard a vehicle fast approaching. The next thing she remembers is lying in the snow with paramedics hovering over her. A drunk driver slammed into her and the car, pinning her between the vehicles. She lost both of her legs.

The driver was convicted and imprisoned. Despite her own troubles, the woman worried about the heavy guilt he might be carrying. She wrote to him, “I wanted to assure him that I knew he didn't purposely injure me.” The man wrote back, immensely appreciative of her kind words.

None of those interviewed celebrated their normal Christmas that year. Still, they were grateful, not for their crises, but for the difference Christ made in the midst of it. My pastor ended with an apology, “This was not my typical Christmas message. But, we live in a broken world. Not everyone will have a merry Christmas.”

As I drove home, I pondered his words. My problems pale in comparison to those interviewed. I should be grateful. And, I am. But, I am still sad. There are too many hard, horrible things in our world.

Even so, Christmas gives me hope. Joy will return. I won’t always feel sick and discouraged. Because of Jesus, I will one day live in a world not broken by sin. Sickness, pain, and sorrow will cease.

Today is not that day. But until then, because my Savior was born in Bethlehem, I have hope. Not even a blue Christmas can take that away.

“He (Jesus) will wipe every tear from their eyes. 
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, 
for the old order of things has passed away.” 
Revelation 21:4 NIV

[1] I wrote this during the Christmas of 2008.


  1. This is a very touching post. We don't know what will happen in the next few minutes and God doesn't guarantee us tomorrow. But we keep on walking the path he has laid out for us. He is by our side as we go through the good times and the not-so good times. Merry Christmas in the Lord.

  2. Hi Gentle Spirit (I love that name),
    Thanks for stopping by in the midst of this busy season. Your comment is beautiful, water to my soul. It is such a comfort to know the Lord is with us always, whatever happens. Blessed Christmas to you!

  3. I hope you are feeling better by now. While we had a wonderful Christmas this year, we have certainly had our difficult ones, too. We had several with our daughter suffering vicious seizures and not able to enjoy the activities of the day. You have latched onto the right hope, though. Jesus holds us, even when we don't feel the "Christmas spirit."

    1. Hi friend,

      Thanks for taking time to stop by and comment! I really appreciate it.

      I wrote this in 2008 (it's referenced in a tiny footnote above). I just felt led to post it this year.

      You've certainly experienced difficult Christmases. Yet, Jesus came to give us much more than a "merry Christmas." He came to give us a "merry" forever! And, as you said, He is always with us in the midst of difficult circumstances.

      Thanks again! Peggi


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