I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.
Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”
Lord, when you favored me,
you made my royal mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.
To you, Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
“What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.”
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
- Psalm 30
I am thinking of two events that can often result in a form of depression. The birth of an infant and Christmas. Postpartum depression is a real thing although it was never discussed when I was growing up. The mother has been dealing with this baby for nine months. It is a joyous thing when the baby is born, but then the reality of being the mother of the child for the rest of your life sets in. This may not be clinically correct, or maybe not in all cases, but let’s compare this to Christmas.
There are parallels with the Christmas Blues, yet not as long lasting. We have the grand build-up to that wonderful day. Then it comes time to open presents. There are elbows flying and wrapping paper flying and finally all of the gifts are out of their boxes. You look for that one more gift, but it isn’t there. Why did you look for it? Did you lose count of how many gifts you had under the tree? Probably not, but you may have this feeling that something is missing.
In a video of Chonda Pierce on the Mike Huckabee Show (I think it has gone viral), she talks of depression, the need for some to have medication, the need for many to seek counseling. But she says that you have to be determined to not be depressed. When she gets blue, she puts on music that makes her feel up. Then she says, “If I hear White Christmas one more time, I’m gonna slit my wrists.” (or something close to that)
Well, I love the music of White Christmas, but the line about “Just like the ones I used to know” always bothered me. Our home town in Mississippi had one white Christmas when I was growing up, the one year that we lived in Southern Mississippi. I lived three years in Germany, followed by a Christmas in Boston – Zilch. We lived in Washington state one year and now, on my 22nd Christmas in Pennsylvania, I wake up to a white Christmas. Now, next year, the song will make more sense.
But do we all anticipate with fond memories a white Christmas? If you can catch an amber light in the photograph, it is the snow plow clearing the street a block over from our house. Is he missing his family opening presents or is he singing a happy tune, thinking of the fat overtime check?
We anticipate joyous occasions without looking for the source of Joy.
Maybe when we look to a special event to make us happy, we are looking in the wrong place.
King David expressed one of his low points in Psalm 30, but he quickly exalts God.
King David may have had the blahs at times, but he knew the source of Joy.
We ask God in the Lord’s Prayer for our daily bread, but remember that this line of the prayer is asking God for our daily supply of strength (physical, emotional, and mental), our daily supply of Joy, our daily supply of Peace, and our daily supply of guidance from the Holy Spirit. We need no anticipation for a future event. God gives us our needs each day.
These long-term planned events are doomed to be depressing in the end if God is not at the center.