Are you looking forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years? Does this seem like a strange question? The majority of individuals do enjoy the celebration atmosphere of these special days. However, statistics tell us that about 10% of our population dread the coming holidays. A woman said to me, “Everyone is running around so happy and I wonder why I feel so sad.” For many the holidays are a time “to just get through and be done with!” I wonder if this is what you might be feeling!?
Holiday depression is not uncommon. Holidays for some were never happy times…they were filled with fighting between parents, alcohol induced abuse, arguments over money, intense loneliness, loss of a parent or childhood abuse. Many love the family get togethers that the holidays bring but for others who have no family with which to share, it is a dreaded time of year.
Depression has been described as a heavy blackness, a feeling of emptiness, numbness and excessive fatigue. It has been compared to being buried alive. Charles Spurgeon who himself suffered from depression described it this way, “Depression is a leak through which the soul’s force wastes itself drop by drop.” Edward Welch in his book on Depression said, “The flatness of life feels like it is killing you.”
For some, depression is a life-long battle, for others it comes in seasons that may last weeks or months. The Psalmist, David, wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Thou art with me.” (Psa. 23) Friend, depression most certainly is a valley. It is a dark valley and in that valley are shadows. Have you ever been walking around at night and been frightened by a shadow? The shadow may in truth be nothing more than a tree, or a bush or a reflection of yourself but your imagination goes wild and you become frightened.
Shadows can lie to you or me but they feel real. The shadow of depression can also lie to you. It can make you believe things that are not true like…”God doesn’t care how I feel” or “I must not be saved because Christians aren’t suppose to get depressed” or “my family would be better off if I weren’t here.” These feelings seem true during times of depression but they are, in fact, lies. Satan, the father of lies, desires to steal, kill and destroy. He will use whatever means he can to accomplish this end. He attacks at the point of your present weakness with the intent of stealing your joy, killing all ability to think truth and destroying all hope.
Several years ago I became very ill and, as a result, spent 10 days in the hospital and several weeks at home recuperating. One day, while still in the hospital, I picked up a Daily Bread that my husband had put on the bedside table. I opened it and my eyes fell on these words from the hymn Under His Wings.
Under His wings, O what precious enjoyment
There will I hide til life’s trials are through.
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me
Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.
I laid there and cried. I repeated the words, “No evil can harm me,” over and over again. Emotionally and physically I was very weak but the truth of that song encouraged me day after day. David encouraged himself the same way when he said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of death, THOU ART WITH ME!” Note that David said, “through the valley of death.” Isa. 43:2 reiterates this truth,
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned.”
Friend, God is with you. You are not alone. David wrote in Psa. 3:3, “Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” God, your Daddy Father, is inviting you to crawl up in His lap and lay your head on His shoulder. He will never leave you and He will never forsake you. He will walk through this valley with you.