Here we are just two weeks before Christmas. I wonder what you are experiencing. If you picked a movie to illustrate how you feel, would it be a Hallmark movie? How the Grinch Stole Christmas? Christmas with the Kranks? It’s a Wonderful Life? Or maybe something else entirely!

What would you choose?

I wonder if your experiences align with the “shoulds” that run through your mind. I should be happy! I should want to make cookies and candy and cheeseballs! I should want to buy gifts and go to parties! I should decorate my house and love doing it!

Yet, deep inside there is a sense of heaviness. Heaviness that is hard to shake and of unknown origin. But there it is, overshadowing all the shoulds, making holiday cheer a short commodity.

What if the difficulties were acknowledged and brought into the light? I don’t mean publish them on your social media page, but bringing them to light by journaling or talking with a trusted friend. What if we admitted this season is sometimes troubling? Perhaps this is the first Christmas without a father, mother, spouse or child. Maybe there has been the loss of job, health or reputation. Perhaps this is the first Christmas since you moved across the country due to economic hardship. Maybe there is tension in the family and navigating social waters feels a bit like sailing through a sea of sharks in an inflatable raft.

Whatever it might be for you, be honest with yourself. Let go of the shoulds and oughts and admit the holidays are difficult. It isn’t all twinkly lights and gently falling snow while sipping hot chocolate from a snowman mug. Talk to Jesus about it and let him go before you every day — especially during the holidays.

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