It’s sad to think that Christmas could be something that many people try just to “survive”. But it’s true! For many people it’s a time, which reveals all the more, how sad their situation in life is in comparison to how other people live. For them, their task is just to get through it without emotionally falling apart. They are surviving Christmas to the best of their ability.
We don’t know if you are just surviving Christmas this year. If you are, please know that our hearts cry with yours. We know that God is crying with you too! After all, Christ came to this earth to save us from that, which makes people cry —the effects of sin! But because we live in a fallen world riddled with sin, it’s difficult sometimes to do much celebrating.
One of our favorite Christmas cards, that we received several years ago, said something we remember each Christmas. The front of the card reads, “Only a few heard the music when He arrived…” And then the inside of the card says, “BUT THE CELEBRATION WILL BE DEAFENING WHEN HE RETURNS!” It gives us chills just to think about that glorious celebration!
And yet for those of you who are suffering because sin has hurt your life somehow, we know that celebrating could be the last thing you want to do. For that reason, we’d like to share with you the following message written by Anne Bercht who knows about the pain that one can feel at Christmas time. She and her husband Brian survived his extra-marital affair, which nearly destroyed their marriage. They were barely hanging onto their marriage when the Christmas season came upon them. She writes:
“Christmas is a painful time for many people. The media makes it worse with commercials showing happy families together in beautiful surroundings. In reality many people confess that the holidays are more of a high stress thing. It includes families and extended families getting their feelings hurt over disappointed expectations.
“In the early years of our marriage, Brian and I always had our biggest fights on special occasions. Finally one day, I recognized the pattern and realized the problem. Yes, it was actually me, not him. Imagine! I had such high expectations of wonderful celebrations —that not only did I stress everyone out, but I was doomed to disappointment, by the unrealistic expectations I had. I was trying to be like those people on the commercials.
“Since then, I expect nothing from holidays. I go about in a relaxed manner and do what I can, and forget about the rest. As a result, we have wonderful holiday celebrations. Oh, we don’t have 40 different dishes served, or mounding presents under the tree, or perfect decorations. Sometimes the house isn’t even spotlessly clean. We don’t get along perfectly with extended family. But what we do have is fun. We’re relaxed, not expecting anything. And since then we’ve had the greatest holidays.
“The first Christmas after discovering my husband Brian’s affair, I was scared, because things were not going well at all. I was afraid that I was going to end up throwing Brian out over Christmas. I knew from that point on, Christmas would be remembered as ‘the time mom and dad split up’ to our kids, and to us.
“So what Brian and I did during the holidays was to just ‘chill.’ I remember going to see my ‘Christian’ counselor one day who made the shocking statement that he thought our whole family needed to just sit around and smoke a joint. Of course he was kidding. But he was referring to the fact that we were all way too stressed out. We were trying too hard to fix everything too fast.
Setting Aside Disappointments
“So that’s what we did that Christmas. (No, we didn’t smoke a joint —we relaxed.) We put the affair and dealing with all of our disappointments in our marriage on hold. We decided to do our best to enjoy each others company. And we worked to remember what we had enjoyed about each other in all the good years of our marriage. We focused on the things that had attracted us to each other.
“Miraculously, we had a wonderful Christmas, and discovered that we really did like being together. This gave us a new hope to continue the hard work of rebuilding our marriage in the New Year.
“If you’re so sick of the whole season that you wish it would just go away, I suggest doing something totally different this year, like working for a charity. Contact the Salvation Army or another similar organization and volunteer to cook and/or serve Christmas dinner to the homeless. Or contact a local church or other community organization. Ask them if you can help put together and deliver Christmas baskets to those who need them. There are many who will go without, except for volunteers and generous hearts at Christmas. And there are never enough volunteers and/or givers to meet the needs.
Surviving Christmas to Being Blessed
“Giving like this will change your life. It will help to take your focus and thoughts off what you’re going without this year. You’ll find yourself blessed in the most unusual way. Genuine love often comes from the most unlikely sources. ‘I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.’
“If you must go without the love you counted on this year, then give love to someone else instead. And may you experience the miracle of the true meaning of Christmas this year! Perhaps you can bring someone’s miracle!
“From the most unsuspecting of places —a lowly manger —a message of love came for the world! Christ died that others might live. What Satan meant for evil, God turned around for good.
“When I discovered my husband’s affair, I died emotionally. Through that death (and the following agony) a new Anne was born, a happier, more confident, and more fulfilled Anne.
“May you experience a new birth this Christmas as well, and a miracle!”
That is our prayer as well! We pray the Lord shows you reason to hang onto hope and joy this Christmas season and throughout the New Year as well!
Cindy and Steve Wright
Are you just surviving Christmas?
For those of you who are surviving Christmas after one of you has had an adulterous affair, and you are just trying to hang on to your marriage during this season, author Anne Bercht wrote another article that you might find helpful. Please click onto the following link to read what she has posted on their web site concerning the question below:
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