Q: I always feel kind of depressed after Christmas, and I’ve never been able to figure out why. It usually takes weeks and weeks for me to begin feeling normal. Why is this? — M.B.N.
A: I’m not a psychologist, of course, but I’ve noticed that some people do tend to feel somewhat “down in the dumps” after they’ve been very busy. It’s not just physical exhaustion (although that may be part of it); often it’s emotional exhaustion as well.
I often think of Elijah in the Old Testament. He was one of God’s greatest prophets and a man of deep faith, and he had experienced God’s provision during very difficult times. In one of the most dramatic scenes in the Bible, Elijah confronted hundreds of pagan priests who denied God, and God rewarded Elijah’s faith by answering his prayers and rejecting those of his opponents. (You can read about this in chapter 18 of 1 Kings.)
And yet immediately afterward Elijah became depressed and even asked God to take his life. Why? One reason was because he was physically depleted (the first thing God provided for him was food and rest). But he was also emotionally and spiritually drained, feeling he had failed because the king and queen refused to give up their opposition to God.
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I don’t know, of course, what your experience has been during the holidays. But get rest if you need it (and seek to control your schedule next year). Most of all, ask God to help you recover the true meaning of the Christmas season: the coming of Jesus Christ into the world for our salvation. Open your mind and heart to Christ and allow his love to saturate your soul. The Bible says, “Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is … not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2).
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or go to BillyGraham.org.