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Curing the Holiday Blues with J.C. Ryle

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 11.04.36 AMEven the newest parish minister is familiar with the “Holiday Blues”, or Holiday Depression Syndrome as the experts call it.  From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, many people experience increased or intensified feelings of sadness.  This is experienced by Christians and non-Christians.  These feelings are primarily caused by a sense of relational loss:

  • loss of relationships one used to have (loved ones now gone due to death or relational breakdown), and/or
  • loss of relationships one does not have (not having a spouse, child, family, or close friends).

While these feelings of loss can be forgotten throughout the year, they are sharply brought to the forefront during the Holidays.  We are bombarded by images, movies, stories, and real life examples of (seemingly) idyllic, happy homecomings and families.  Every Facebook post, Christmas card, and Holiday Commercial just drives the knife in deeper.  All of this is made worse by the additional guilt, jealousy, and bitterness that comes from feeling sad when you should feel the happiest.

How can the Church (clergy and lay) bring the Gospel’s comfort to those suffering from the “Holiday Blues”?  Certainly, it is always wise to help them see the idol they can make of relationships, but that’s not the only comfort.   In his chapter entitled “The Great Gathering” in Practical Religion, Victorian Anglican Bishop J.C. Ryle reminds us of another comforting dimension of the Gospel:  the great gathering of believers at Christ’s return. (more…)

This post was written by Rob Sturdy

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