With Christmas behind us and New Year’s fast approaching, we are entering the dreaded “no-holiday zone” of January. Full of Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas ham, we stumble into the new year lethargic and somewhat depressed.
Gifts have been opened and all that’s left is crumpled wrapping paper. The aroma of home-cooked meals gives way to the bland smell of packed lunches and cafeteria food. Blockbuster movies we’ve waited all year to see leave the theaters to be replaced by studio throwaway films. And to make everything worse, the dead of winter settles in and coats this bleak time between New Year’s Day and February 14th with a dark cold that punctuates this limbo with a depressing exclamation point.
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating just a bit but let’s be honest – nobody likes the post-holiday blues. I’ve been fighting them already a bit myself. And with it being Christmas break, I have a lot of extra time on my hands to sulk. But I’m trying not to do that this year. Instead, I’m opting for a much more positive approach to days ahead. I hope you’ll join me as we look at 3 simple ways we can beat the post-holiday blues.
1. Enjoy Your Gifts
No matter your age, if you’re an average American Christian, you got one or two gifts this year. Maybe they weren’t exactly what you wanted, but you likely received at least one semi-enjoyable item. If you didn’t and only got coal – well, I’ll leave that between you and Santa. But for the rest of us who were good this year (relatively speaking), it would do us well to spend some time enjoying a few of our favorite presents - rather than wallowing in discontentment that we didn't get what we wanted to didn't get enough!
If you got a book (like me – the bulk of my presents were books), sit down on one of those dark, cold nights and read it! If you got a movie you’ve been waiting to see, watch it with your family! A new Bible? Spend time in God’s Word! A gift card? Spend some time shopping for you or a family member and get them something extra to cheer up their January.
The point is, enjoy the gifts God has allowed you to be blessed with. As Americans, we live in luxury compared to the rest of the world. Give thanks for that. And always remember that, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17 ESV).
2. Spend Time in the Word
It’s easy to neglect the spiritual disciplines in the weeks after the holidays. We’ve just spent the entire month of December pondering the first advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, many of our churches have had extra services for Christmas plays, cantatas, of Christmas Eve services, and now we are left somewhat spiritually engorged on the truths of the Word.
But don’t let that prevent you from continuing to feast on the Word of God. The new year provides a unique opportunity to start afresh on Bible reading. Maybe you’re like me and you sort of fail at keeping up with Bible reading plans. Take this opportunity to find a new plan to begin on January 1st and keep up with throughout 2018!
3. Surround Yourself with People
The holidays bring people together. This year I saw that like never before. Being newly married, my family has significantly increased in size since last Christmas. My wife’s brothers both live far away from us, but every other year the whole of my wife’s side of the family comes together in a central location (where my in-laws live) to celebrate Christmas. This just happened to be one of those years and for the first time I was part of it. Which also meant that I was part of the exodus that occurred a few days after the 25th. Just as quickly as everyone filed in, they ushered out (my wife and I included).
Oftentimes, loneliness can settle in after the holidays are over. Students go back to school for their second semester, families retreat to their individual homes, and friends depart from us to various places. This is where church family becomes so important.
In the weeks to come, don’t isolate yourself from your church family.
Even if it’s cold outside, go to church on Sunday morning. Join a small group. Attend the Wednesday night prayer meeting. Let the body of Christ take you in and encourage you and provide you with a sense of community in the dreary days of January.
I hope these three simple things help you get through the slough that January can often become. What ways have you combated the post-holiday blues? Leave a comment below, or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter! And don’t forget to hit the subscribe button below! You’ll receive these posts right in your inbox! Don’t worry, your inbox won’t overflow (because I’m terribly inconsistent with my writing schedule sometimes)!