What about when Christmas comes along and you’re sad, grieving, or alone—or when, instead of anticipation and excitement, you feel dread and loss? You know this is supposed to be the happiest time of year, but you’re just not feeling it. That’s okay. You don’t have to fix your pain or grief or loss. We can’t anyways.

I don’t think that the shepherds watching the sheep on that first Christmas thought it was any kind of special night. It was just another cold Bethlehem night. Their town was overrun with visitors there for the census, a reminder of Roman oppression. Nothing looked especially hopeful.

But the angels filled the sky with the message that they didn’t need to be afraid; their Savior had been born that night in their town. Everything about that ordinary night changed, and suddenly there was hope. The Redeemer had come!

If you aren’t feeling up to all the festivities of the season, try focusing on the Hope of the season. Jesus came, and through Him, redemption for our sins, brokenness, and separation from God. This reflection needs no tree and trimmings, no gifts and decorations. You alone, saved by Jesus, makes a party.

Here are some things you can do if this isn’t your most festive Christmas:

  • Read the Gospel of Luke, chapters 1 and 2, and let the hope of Jesus’ birth fill your heart.
  • Be part of something meaningful—a choir, a charity, a book club, a project, anything that interests you and helps connect you to others.
  • Get a change of scenery. This isn’t always possible, but sometimes, going somewhere new or doing a different activity will help to change your perspective.
  • Let Christmas pass simply. If you aren’t up for a big event, there will be other times for celebration.

Jesus will meet you where you are at, on Christmas and every other day of the year.

If you haven’t yet met Jesus and received Him as your Savior, you can ask Him to come into your heart with His love, life, liberty, truth, peace, plenty, and happiness here, now, and forever. Simply pray:

Dear Jesus, thank You for giving Your life for me. Please forgive me for my sins, come into my heart, grant me Your free gift of eternal life, and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Amen.