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When Your Merry Isn’t So Merry


I love all things Christmas. I enjoy the songs, the lights, and the food (especially the food). For me, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.


However, if you Google “depression at Christmas,” be prepared to find some sobering statistics.


For many people, Christmas is anything but merry. 


Increased financial stress, added events that consume any margin in our lives, and exacerbated family tensions make this season difficult for many. Then, of course, there’s Covid and the latest mutation that continues to create fear for some.


The tragic irony is that we celebrate the Prince of Peace’s coming at Christmas, while so many of us are not so peaceful.


I woke up at 4:05 with a heavy heart.


Outside of a miracle, I have a dear friend who will never spend another Christmas with her husband and family. Another friend had to say goodbye to her father, who will pass away soon. Some of my friends and family members are fighting cancer, going through a divorce, or trying to figure out how to pay the rent in January after losing a job. I just got a text from a mom who admitted a child to the hospital yesterday.


The reality of their struggles at a time of merriment is challenging. 


I sat in my chair in a room illuminated only by the Christmas lights on our tree and prayed, “Jesus, why is life so hard at times? Why now? What can I say to help my friends?”


What can I say to a husband losing the love of his life?


What can I say to a daughter losing her daddy?


What can I say to a family member battling the evils of cancer?


What can I say to a mom who is afraid for her child struggling in the hospital?


What can I say to my friend who is alone, and all she wants for Christmas is a godly husband?



I know that lovely, upbeat, well-intended Christian platitudes might be true, but they’re not always what is best needed in a crisis.


Of course, I could talk about perspective and eternity and the importance of fixing our eyes on Jesus. Good words. Truth. All biblical realities.


But it dawned on me long before the dawn: Maybe the best thing—the needed thing—is simply to be.


  • Be available.


  • Be understanding.


  • Be one who mourns with those who mourn and weeps with those who weep.


  • Be more like Jesus, who knew this life would be hard, and so He told us, “I am with you. Always present. Always nearby. No matter what you face, you will never be abandoned and never forsaken.”


Perhaps the most important thing to remember when in a dark place is He truly is Emmanuel.


And maybe the best thing we can do for those who need us when their life isn’t so merry is to simply stay close.


What we do is often far more important than anything we might say.


So, just be present.


“And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

Matthew 28:20 (KJV)


Kurt Bubna

Kurt W. Bubna has published seven books, is an internationally recognized blogger, conference and retreat speaker, as well as an experienced life and leadership coach. Bubna has over forty years of experience working with individuals, teams, and a wide variety of business and non-profit organizations.

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Sue Tarmann

    Thank you Kurt. Forever grateful for you in our lives. This was a much needed message to those of us hurting during the holiday season. And you are always in our prayers…….
    Reed & Sue.

    1. KurtBubna

      And I am so grateful for you guys. You are loved!

  2. Tina Tolentino

    I struggle with most of these.. Thank you for the words for they are the truth and what we need at this time of year. Also thank you for the reminder that God is with us and He is sitting next to us waiting for our hearts to turn to him

    1. KurtBubna

      Glad you were encouraged, Tina. You are loved!

  3. Lora Shafer

    Thanks for the reminder that God is with us at all times. I appreciate the words of wisdom that you shared. May God bless you and your family.
    Merry Christmas to you my friend.

    1. KurtBubna

      Thank you, Lora. And blessings back at ya! Merry Christmas.

  4. Lori Porch Garver

    This is absolutely beautiful!! Thank you so much Kurt!! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    1. KurtBubna

      Thank you for your very kinds words, and Merry Christmas to you!

  5. Kathleen Hoffman

    Thank you for your words of hope, to show kindness and compassion and the hope of Christ’s love at Christmas. God bless you and your family. Kathi

  6. Abbi

    It’s been a hard year, a difficult season. In October we had three friends and family die in horrible accidents. November brought three more deaths and so far this month, three others have died, one only 35 years old who was a daddy to four littles. We cling to King Jesus.

    1. KurtBubna

      I am so sorry, Abbi. Praying for you now.

  7. Sharon Pearcy

    Love this message. Thank you

    1. KurtBubna

      Love you, Sharon. Thank you.

  8. Melinda Fidler

    This was excellent Kurt.

    1. KurtBubna

      Thanks, Melinda. You are loved.

  9. Bill

    Kurt, I really needed to hear this. As always you put my heart and mind back in check. When I am down and possibly struggling, I try to focus on God and realize someone always has it worse, and to be great full for where, who and how lucky I am.

    As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, it is to be a joyous time, but almost every year it is a struggle for me with memories, events, and things I witness in my day to day activities.
    However Christmas morning and seeing the happiness in a child’s/children’s eyes…. That’s when my heart finally becomes happy.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family

    1. KurtBubna

      Perspective matters, huh, Bill? Thanks for adding to the conversation. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  10. Cathy Schisler Elmasian

    Very good reminder of the importance of empathy….thank you, Cousin Kurt. Have a blessed Christmas!

    1. KurtBubna

      So good to hear from you, Cathy! Love you!

  11. Jenny Lynch

    Thank you, Kurt. You were just that today for a brief moment for me and I appreciate that. Thank you.

    1. KurtBubna

      Love you, Jenny. Praying…

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