"Christmas is a time when we are supposed to be riotously happy," writes novelist and blogger Elizabeth Camden. "The media blasts us with images of happy families, glittering lights, lavish gifts, and the implication that the rest of the world is living in a warmly-lit, Norman Rockwell-like world. Then comes the New Year’s holiday which prompts us to take stock of our lives and examine our accomplishments. Is it any wonder that many of us fall a little short of this idealized world?"
If this season leaves you feeling less than riotously happy -- if, in fact, it just gets you down -- Camden's article on the power of "It's a Wonderful Life," which "proves to us that our lives need not be lived on an epic scale or with material wealth to have profound value," is well worth a read. So is this homily from Steven Greydanus, which speaks of God's gifts of love and hope to those who just aren't "feeling the joy." And so is this piece from Dena Dyer about what to do when "everyone else seems to be surrounded by love and warmth while you feel alone, cold, and in the dark."
We can't always be happy even when the whole world is telling us that it's time to be happy. But thanks be to God, we can have hope.