It’s okay to be sad at Christmas.

This morning, I took a call from a grieving daughter who desperately needed help to sell her late parents’ belongings and their homes. Their very livelihoods. Everything. It stopped me dead in my tracks.

I’m relatively new to this business but my coworkers are no strangers to seeing this every single day of every single week of every single year.

I went to the office next door and I was visibly shaken. By the look on my face, my VP and friend knew exactly what kind of call I just took. She pulled up one of the many of her Google reviews of clients simply wanting to be heard. Just listened to. Just everyday people with everyday hearts openly grieving. It’s our job here at Gulf State Homebuyers to make sure that every transaction and interaction happen with the utmost honesty and integrity because we, too, are everyday people with everyday hearts.

I remember watching The View, and Meghan McCain, daughter of the late John McCain, made a statement that really resonated with me. The cohosts went down the panel asking how each of their Thanksgivings went, and when they got to Meghan, she took her moment to recognize that not everyone had a cookie cutter holiday experience. Her father passed away last year, and she shared with everyone that she was sad on her Thanksgiving. She was honest, raw, and unfiltered. She said “It’s okay to be sad during the holidays.” Instead of shying away from the darker side of a beautiful time, she was taking ownership of her sadness. It’s startling to read the statistics that reveal that despite the Christmas cheer so many of us marvel in, so many people are more depressed during the holidays than any other time of the year.

This thought has stayed with me throughout most of the day. We live in a time where social media consumes us, and we can tap into anyone’s life with a simple click or scroll. We’re accustomed to sharing the good, which gives a filtered misconception of what life is really like. Example: The Facebook photo of the “amazing” potato salad from your “amazing” mother in law (that in all actuality, made you amazingly gag) or the picture perfect staged Christmas card photos, that were the product of you screaming at your children to “LOOK HAPPY!!!” in the 80 degree Texas heat, as they roll their eyes in their itchy winter clothes. Christmas is the most magical time of the year for me personally, but for some people, it isn’t…

For a grieving widow, it may mean her first Christmas without her husband, and her children’s first Christmas without their Dad.

For a foster child, it may mean another holiday passing by without a family to call their own.

For an empty nester, it might mean her first Christmas Eve without tucking her now grown “babies” into bed.

For some, it might be the first holiday with a broken family. The first holiday away from your kids.

For others, it’s Christmas in a hospital, burdened by the strain of an illness.

For some women, it’s the unwavering longing to buy presents for a baby that they never could conceive.

For some, the holidays will be a painful reminder of the Christmas memories spent with a mother or a father who is now in Heaven. Traditions that used to have meaning, now just feel numb without them here.

It is important to feel grateful for the love & spirit that the holidays bring, but we can look to the story of the first Christmas as a reminder that there is still room on Christmas for the real & the raw. As children, we are rehearsed to know the story of the perfectly polished manger scene and impeccable baby Jesus born as our Savior. The TRUE meaning of Christmas. As adults, we can appreciate that although this was without question the greatest night in the history of EVER, it was not a night complete without its own load of anguish and sadness. Remember that Mary & Joseph were homeless. They were pushed aside, rejected and treated like criminals. They were alone, relying on faith for the greater plan that was soon to come. There was fear and darkness, but most importantly there was truth. The undying, unifying truth that would set them free. That would set us ALL free. This assures me that there is plenty of room in every Christmas for truth. Your OWN truth. Whether that truth consist of having yourself a merry little Christmas or just flat out feeling sad.

It’s time that we reclaim the holidays and be honest with ourselves. It is quite alright to “feel.” For some, that may be the feeling of sadness or anguish, or a darkness you are struggling with but can’t quite put your finger on. Allow yourself to feel that. If your holiday is a little more glittery than that, by all means – revel in it. Deck the halls, keep Alexa on an endless loop of Christmas carols, binge watch all the Hallmark movies, stuff your face with endless cheat foods, and make some time, within all of that Christmas glory, to reach out to someone who may not be feeling the same glittery bliss that you are. In the season of “comfort and joy”, comfort one another.

Share your joy. Most importantly, be your own truth. Reach out to someone this Christmas.

I know we are making it our personal mission to do so.

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