Some pastors will tell you they perform more crisis counseling during the Christmas season than at any other time of year.
One pastor recently said our electronic age has made counseling impersonal. “I had a person text me this week and tell me their world was falling apart,” the pastor said. “I found myself having a counseling session texting on my phone.”
Christmas time seems to be the time that many families fall apart. Dysfunctions seem more augmented. Family gatherings intended to huddle the family around the dining room table or the Christmas tree wind up painfully superficial when underlying tensions and strained family relationships get ignored. Rather than a joy-filled season of good tidings and great joy, the season drives people inward to dwell on what’s wrong with their lives.
Serving others is proven therapy for the Christmas blues. Considering the needs of others as more important than your own will allow you to experience the spirit of giving, which is what Christmas is really all about. The Bible says, “Give and it shall be given to you, in good measure, pressed down, shaken together and spilling over will be poured into your lap.” Luke 6:38. I recently participated in an evening of stuffing toys in bags for underprivileged families in our community. A group of volunteers met at a local co-op ministry. We bagged huge plastic garbage bags with nice new toys. The toys were age-specific. Families who qualified for the toy giveaway filled out a sheet with their children’s names and ages. Then we packed the bags with the right toys for each age group and gender. The toys were not cheap. They were things normal families would probably buy for their kids.
In about three hours we packed bags for 450 underprivileged families. It was work. But every volunteer left the ministry feeling a deep sense of gratitude and accomplishment. We tried to imagine the delight and happiness on the faces of these children who would otherwise probably not get anything for Christmas.
What a blessing.
You see, giving works like this: When you give some of yourself away, you always get more back in return than you give. It’s a law of nature. And it’s a promise of Jesus as well.
So, if you find yourself down in the dumps this Christmas, find a ministry, call them, and see what you can do to help. I’ve never heard of a ministry turning down help. More important than your money is your time. Many times ministries can use your time and talents more than they can your money. Money is always good to give. Don’t get me wrong. And ministries probably won’t turn it down.
But I believe you will get more out of donating your time and talents than you would if you simply sent them a check in the mail.
If you’ve never done it before, you are in for a bone fide remedy for your Christmas blues.
If you’ve done it before, you know it is more blessed to give than to receive.