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Kia Stephens


December 21, 2015

3 Things to Remember When Christmastime is Difficult

December 21, 2015 | By | 24 Comments

No one wants to admit that sometimes Christmastime is neither merry nor bright.  We rather dwell on scents of pine, twinkling lights, and winter wonderlands.  I am no different.

I grew up romanticizing the holiday classics.  Movies like Miracle on 34th Street, and It’s a Wonderful Life made this season all the more magical for me.  I was wooed well into adulthood by the idea of happily ever after:  boy meets girl, problems are solved, and everyone gets what they want in the end.  

However, Christmas seems to magnify the tough reality that many people are lonely, problems remain unresolved, and everyone does not get what they want.   In fact, tucked just below the subconscious is a truth we don’t want to acknowledge about our beloved holiday.  Sometimes, Christmas can be difficult.

A loved one dies.

A marriage ends.

A job is lost.

A child is sick.

Money is scarce.

Families members are at odds with each other.  

Situations linger threatening our holly jolly demeanor.  Like weeds, seeds of sadness spring up and intermingle with our desire to be happy at Christmas.  Often these seeds bloom into discouragement, despair, and sometimes depression, forcing us to marry the desired ideal with the present reality.  

Questions of when, how, and if things will change bombard our minds.  At a time when we want everything to be perfect we must acknowledge it isn’t.   Even still, when we find ourselves in this difficult place, there are three things we can remember.

#1 The First Christmas, Though Beautiful, Was Difficult

Manger scenes depict the birth of Christ omitting the obvious challenges.  Mary endured labor on a road trip, birth in a stable, and delivered a baby with a bounty on his head.  And yet, in the midst of a less than ideal situation, the Savior of the world was born.  When life is difficult, the presence of Christ, enables us to see our circumstance with an eternal perspective.

When Life is Difficult at Christmastime Meme 1


# 2 Hope is Not Subject to Conditions

 This hope is resilient, persevering in the face of extreme obstacles.  It is a hope that compels us to believe in:

Healing for the sick,

Reconciliation for the separated,

Joy for the broken, and

Grace for the imperfect.

This hope prevails in the face of all adversity.

# 3 Christmas Is About Christ

Man’s narcissistic obsession with ourselves has duped many into believing the lie that Christmas is about us: it is not.  Agendas, ideals, and wants, inhibit our view.  Intuitively, we know it’s about Christ, but instinctively we live otherwise.

When Life is Difficult at Christmastime Meme 4


  This love drove Him to send Christ into the world to die for the sins of all mankind.  

When life is difficult at Christmastime we can look to Christ.  He alone can handle the pain of our circumstances.  With him we are empowered to exchange:

Despair for hope,

Sorrow for Joy, and

Pain for Peace.

If you are in the midst of of a difficult circumstance this Christmas know that the enduring love of God is sufficient and extended to you.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  1 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

When Life is Difficult at Christmastime Meme 8


For More on this subject watch my live stream with Maya Dawson.



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  1. Kia, What a great reminder that Christmas is NOT about us and our own ideals. So glad I read this today. And what a truth this is: “When life is difficult, the presence of Christ, enables us to see our circumstance with an eternal perspective.” Blessings to you this week!

    • This is a reminder to me too Angela! We are a part of a much larger story that God is revealing in the earth. His perspective supersedes our finite view. Thanks for joining the conversation today. Be blessed and have a Merry Christmas. – Kia

  2. Christmas does seem to magnify the “hard,” and I wonder if some of the reason for this is our pinterest perfect expectations of the season. Thank you for bringing our thoughts into alignment with the truth that Jesus birth happened in the midst of some VERY imperfect circumstances!
    Michele Morin recently posted…The Apostles’ Creed for the 21st CenturyMy Profile

    • Michele, I completely agree with you. Anytime our focus is taken off of Christ and placed on stuff, people or situations, we can become candidates for discouragement. When Christ is at the center of our Christmas we have reason to rejoice in any and every circumstance. Truly Christmas is about Christ. May we remember this truth. Thank you for joining the conversation, be blessed and Merry Christmas! – Kia

  3. What a timely message! Thank you for this reminder of even during the difficult, Christmas gives us hope for today and for our future. I’m sharing this today! Blessings on your Christmas season! Following you at Lori’s this week.
    Julie Lefebure recently posted…Rediscovering Christmas – Will We Make Room?My Profile

    • Thanks Julie, I needed this message too. Christmas is about Christ. Funny how that truth is easily forgotten. I pray this reality will permeate your holiday season. Thanks for visiting and be blessed! – Kia

  4. Ah, “Hope is not subject to conditions…”
    And what glorious hope there is just in that statement.
    Thank you for rich words on my favorite time of year.
    The amazing thing bout Christmas is that, in remembering it and honoring it each year, God reveals a new sentiments of joy.
    Happy #RaRaLinkUp Day!
    Megs recently posted…“What Does It Mean?” Week Two: EmmanuelMy Profile

    • We can stop with hope. Is that not enough to celebrate Christmas just knowing that no matter our circumstance Christ offers humanity HOPE! Thanks for joining the conversation Megs and be blessed! – Kia

  5. Great message, Kia! And when our focus is on the proper reason for the season we’re a whole lot less likely to get stressed out by all those other trappings! Blessings!
    LIz recently posted…Decide with Priorities Not PrideMy Profile

    • So true Liz! Christmas is truly about Christ! Thanks for joining the conversation today and be blessed! – Kia

  6. Hi Kia, I’m glad I found your post in this morning’s linkup. In fact, I’m drawn to all those that speak to Christmas being difficult because that’s the season I find myself in — one in which I’m looking forward to the holidays with mixed feelings. Thank you so much for the hope you shared and the deep truths that inspire me to choose Joy!

    I’m sharing this on my Shining Through Grief board on Pinterest so that I can share this hope with others!
    Btw, I love your beautiful blog.
    Marva | SunSparkleShine recently posted…Goal Setting for Christians – How to Spark your New Year GoalsMy Profile

    • Thanks Marva, So glad you were encouraged by this post. Christmas is absolutely my favorite holiday but I am often reminded that it can be bitter sweet for many. May the lavish gift of the Savior be a constant comfort to you during this time. So glad you joined the conversation today and thanks for sharing this post on your blog. Be blessed! – Kia

  7. Kia, What a beautiful and absolutely perfect reminder of the truth. We so quickly make everything about us and miss the blessing right in front of us. Thanks so much for pointing us back in the right direction. Blessings!!
    Deb Wolf recently posted…25 Wonderful Ways to Find Your Joy in JesusMy Profile

    • Deb, I could only write this because I have been and sometimes teeter back to being GUILTY. But God’s overwhelming and all – consuming grace brings me back to my senses every time. So glad you joined the conversation today! Be blessed! – Kia

  8. This is a great post! I think Christmas is difficult for many people but the tips you offer really help our focus. It is so encouraging to remember that Jesus entered into the messiness of this world so he understands and that, whatever our circumstances, he offers hope. Glad to be your neighbour today at Coffee for your heart.
    Lesley recently posted…What Do We Do While We’re Waiting?My Profile

    • Lesley sometimes I breeze through the Bible without allowing it to come to life for me. If we allow ourselves space to really see the birth of Christ we will notice just how challenging life was when Jesus came on the scene. This brings me such comfort to know our Savior can relate to the difficult circumstances of our lives. So glad you joined the conversation today and be blessed!

  9. Love number 2. Hope is not Subject to Conditions! Absolutely. Neither is Joy. we can choose to live with hope and joy no matter what is going on around us.
    Karen Woodall recently posted…Mighty GodMy Profile

    • I love that Karen and yet I find myself forgetting, often. It is easy to think hope and joy are for the chosen few but it is a choice. Thank you for this tremendous reminder. So glad you joined the conversation and be blessed! – Kia

  10. Wonderful post, Kia! Thanks so much for the beautifully written reminder of God’s over-the-top love, joy and peace that are always ours even when times are difficult.
    Carlie recently posted…What Do You REALLY Want for Christmas?My Profile

    • Thanks for your encouraging words Carlie. I was glad to write it in hopes of encouraging someone who needs it this Christmas. Glad you joined the conversation and be blessed! – Kia

  11. “When life is difficult at Christmastime we can look to Christ.” This summed up your timely post beautifully! Thanks for sharing this, Kia.

    • Hey Blen,

      It was my pleasure friend. I hope it encourages many! Thanks for joining the conversation and be blessed! – Kia

  12. Wow, wow, wow! I especially love reason #1. Posts like yours are so real and so helpful to those folks who have fog in the way of seeing the star this Christmas…I’ve had several holidays like that. It is so good that we lean into Christ and His presence and not into our own personal storm, which is temporary, even though it feels all-consuming. Blessings to you!
    Bonnie Lyn Smith recently posted…Expectant Like MaryMy Profile

    • Thank you Bonnie and yes we must lean into Christ and his presence and not our circumstances. I’m glad this was an encouragement to you. Be blessed! – Kia

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