Feeling Dread, Drained, Depressed or Delight at Christmas?


Every year we drive around looking at Christmas lights. Before we leave the house, my children color pictures of the nativity.  On each picture we write the note “Thank you for displaying the reason for the season”.

As we drive around, we look and look…and look for Jesus – and when we find him, we clap and cheer and hoot and holler and daddy pulls the car over so one of the children can slip their picture into the homeowner’s paper box.

Look at this house – wow…


I spy a nativity below – hooray!


Next house – wowsa beautiful…


Next house – ding ding ding – we have a winner!!! 🙂



Just as my kids have to look hard to find Jesus in the midst of the lights and displays, we too must train our hearts to look for Jesus. This world has so many distractions that keep us from practicing the presence of God in our lives. As a result we miss God completely and do life on our own.

The 4 D’s of Christmas

1.) Dread. Some of us DREAD Christmas.  As soon as the Christmas trees go up in Walmart and Christmas music begins to play on the radio – we get anxious about all the work, money spent and people we have to be around during the holidays.

2.) Drained. Some of us start out well. We are excited about all the wonderful days ahead and we volunteer to lead things and plan to make 10 different types of cookies, do elaborate wrapping and decorate our homes to the hilt.  But come December 26th – we are exhausted and drained.

3.) Depressed.  Christmas is a hard time of year for so many of us who have an empty chair at the table because of the loss of a loved one or a broken relationship. For others – there’s someone in the chair you really wish wasn’t there. And still for others, it’s a time of loneliness or of reflecting over the past year and it can be overwhelming emotionally.

But there’s one ‘D’ we all should pursue…

4.) Delight.  

Psalm 119:24 says, “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.”

In the midst of our dreading, draining and depression –the Lord’s word is to be our delight.

His word is to be our comfort and guide.  He will lead us away from the dread, drained and depressed feelings by His good wisdom…but just as my children have to look for Jesus in the midst of the Christmas lights- we must fight to see Jesus in this season.  We must look to Jesus.

Isaiah 9:6 says:

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Baby Jesus in the manger is not a warm fuzzy story for our children.  He’s a strong fortress for you and me to cling to!

This child born in Bethlehem – the Savior of the world –  is our Wonderful Counselor!  

Wonderful means – extremely good and delightful!

But we must look for Jesus in His word.

We must look to Jesus in prayer.

We must make time to delight in his statues – that is His word.

Friends, let’s rise above the first 3 D’s – and drink from the living well – the living waters of God – and be women living well as we celebrate the birth of our Wonderful Counselor.

“If you have a better relationship with the Lord at the end of the holiday celebrations, you have had a very successful holiday.”
~ Penny Thrasher, Putting God Back in the Holidays

Walk with the King,


**Chime In: What passage of scripture or devotional are you reading during the month of December?


  1. Wow, such beautiful homes in your area! I want to get a nativity scene to put out in our yard but they’re kind of pricey so I think I’ll wait till after Christmas when the stores have them marked down to 50% off then maybe I can snag one at 70% off or better 😉

  2. I love how the kids color the pictures to put in the paper box/mailbox. What a great idea! We have a beautiful JOY with a nativity in the O in one of our neighbor’s yards! I think we will have to tell them thank you very soon!

  3. Courtney,
    This was so on target for me right now. In the last few years I have lost both my parents. In the last month I lost three more people close to me. I have been trying to stay in the Word to fight off those three “D’s”. It has not been easy. I always look forward to driving around and looking at all the beautiful Christmas lights. I will take your suggestion to look for Jesus in each one–to look for Nativity’s. I’m not going to color a picture but I plan to make a “thank you note” to leave at each home. You are right–when we give to others it helps us ourselves. Thanks for your encouraging word to all of us.

  4. Thank you for your post. Couldn’t sleep tonite – tired, but can’t sleep. Got stuff done today and church twice, but feel that i’m always behind – can’t even get to the Christmas stuff. Just too tired and know that something health wise is just not right. Allowing the depression of the day to take over and you’re right…the delight in our Saviour’s birth, life, death, and resurrection should be pondered on and prayed about tonight. That is what should determine my DELIGHT. Thanks.

  5. Great idea to spot Jesus in the decor! Yes, we should bring Jesus to the focus of Christmas celebrations. For the first time in a couple of years I am actually looking forward to Christmas! Just because our focus has shifted. Amen!

  6. Dear Courtney,

    Indeed: Jesus should be on the center stage. I have a hard time finding him in the Christmas decorations, whether it is inside or outside deco. Thank God our focus has shifted (since a couple of years). I find more JOY and PEACE in Christmas since we celebrate the Birth of our King.
    Santa wasjooly and nice and he is tradition but we felt something was missing. And you know what? Yep we have found it!

    Christ is Born on Christmas Day !!!!

    As Always: blessings x


  7. What a wonderful idea Courtney! I may have to “borrow” it! We do the same~we go and look at the Christmas lights but we’ve never had a Nativity hunt. Awesome! Thanks for sharing…

  8. I love the kids pictures ideas–I bet the recipients were delighted! I have been using Preparing my Heart for Advent by Ann Marie Stewart. Fantastic devotional that starts you on November 1st moving through this season. God Bless!

  9. I love this idea! We always drove around looking at lights as a child and it is one of my favorite Christmas memories.
    I am doing the Advent Bible Study with Good Morning Girls, but we are doing a series in December at church called “Who Is Jesus?”. It is centered around Isaiah 9:6. We are breaking down each name that Jesus is referenced by.

  10. Thank you so much for this post! I love all the scripture you referenced, I so needed it. I just made our Nativity color sheets to pass out when we go look at lights, what a GREAT IDEA!!! I love it, love it! Thank you for your ministry… you have no idea how it has impacted me!! Most recently, the Making Your Home a Haven series. I had several friends join me.

    1. Google “color pages nativity” and a boatload of options will come up 🙂 I let the kids pick their favorite and then printed a bunch of them.
      Hope that helps!
      Courtney 🙂

  11. Hi Courtney! What a wonderful idea for the children and those families that seek to remind others of the reason we celebrate. I love looking for Jesus in the decorations. I agree that seeking Him in prayer and His word will keep us focused this Christmas season.

  12. What a wonderful idea. First of all for your kids to search for Jesus and second to encourage others to not hide their faith. Also you are teaching your family to encourage others! Bless you!!

  13. I love this post! It’s so true, when we’re so busy and run off our feet it is so easy to end up feeling totally drained. Thanks for the reminder of where we find our delight x

  14. I really like this idea!! We are going to be traveling the rest of this month from Thursday all the way until after Christmas. We have a business trip planned, I cannot wait to look for Nativities from SC all the way up to MA and leave a note for them that we in SC appreciated their decorations!!! God is good all the time!!

  15. Dear Courtney, thanks to you and to all the inspiration in your wonderful book, I already changed so many things in my life, and this only within a couple of weeks! My marriage already improved a lot and I am looking forward to having a wonderful Christmas time this year. Blessings on you and your family!

  16. Dear Courtney– I’m a single woman who reads your blog as a sort of Titus 2 type ministry to myself. I love the ideas you have with your family, and I tuck them away for when I have a family some day. I referenced this family activity of yours on my recent post about what families can do to help singles at Christmas time. I read your post and thought–what a fun idea! Seriously, I love it! In fact, I even think it could be a fun activity for singles to do with the kids (nieces, nephews, and kids of friends) in their lives. Thank you for what you do, and know that you’re encouraging single women as well as married.

  17. Once our baby boy is a few years older and we can stretch bedtime for Christmas eve, we will be going around and looking at lights after Christmas eve service – I think we’ve found a way to make it even more special. Thank you for sharing this beautiful & special tradition that you do. Merry Christmas!

  18. Beautiful idea. Thank you for sharing! I definitely would like to add this to our watching Christmas lights. It will help all of us focus on Jesus! Absolutely love this idea! I was looking for a download option of your nativity thank you coloring page.

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