Many people struggle through the holiday season for a range of very valid reasons. Dysfunctional families causing unnecessary drama & misery, suffering loss through failed relationships or deaths of loved ones & financial struggles are some of the most common reasons, but there are many more. Yet in spite of the validity of these reasons, many people are quick to shame these poor people, making their pain even worse.
My heart goes out to such people. As I’ve written about plenty of times, I struggle through the holidays as well. And, as many others have experienced, I’ve been shamed for that as well. I’ve heard the usual comments like, “Focus on the positive!” “It’s the most wonderful time of year!” “Everyone is so happy. Why can’t you be happy too?” “Don’t be so negative. It’s Christmas!!” It’s no surprise, but comments don’t help.
What people who make comments like this fail to realize is saying such things doesn’t make a person automatically feel better. In fact, they only make a person feel worse. It’s much like how saying, “cheer up” doesn’t cure depression or, “stop worrying!” doesn’t cure anxiety.
When you are faced with these overly judgmental people, it will be upsetting. There is no avoiding that. It does help to remember that some people simply aren’t very understanding others. They either can’t or won’t try to understand the position of another person & unfortunately, they are everywhere. This is how they are & they have no desire to change that about themselves. It has nothing about you that makes them act this way.
There is also the fact that so many people have their own issues that they refuse to face. Some people have come from their own dysfunctional, abusive pasts & rather than admit that fact & face their demons, they prefer to think only of happy things. Traditionally, holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, so they are a great time to justifiably be focused on only happy things. Or maybe holidays were the only time of joy they had in their childhood, so as adults, they cling to them to bring them joy as they once did. Holidays also allow dysfunctional families to gather together & pretend that they are functional & happy. Those from these families may enjoy this charade because even if only briefly, they can believe that they have a happy family.
One final thing to consider. Colossians 2:16 in the New Living Translation of the Bible says, “So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths.” Notice that even the Bible even states that people aren’t to judge others for how they celebrate special days. Celebrating certain ways & certain days is traditional, but it isn’t necessary for anyone, even professing Christians. God gives people free will to do as they please, & that includes how they celebrate special days. If He won’t judge you for what you do or don’t do during the holiday season, then there is no reason to accept the judgment of human beings. Do what makes you comfortable, & ignore the petty criticisms of people who don’t know your situation.