You can run, but you can’t hide.

Reminders of the holiday season are everywhere.

Grocery stores are infiltrated with decorations, toy catalogs arrive in our mailboxes daily, and invitations for special events flood our social media accounts.

No matter what’s going on in our lives, the message is inescapable:

“Bask in the glow of being surrounded by the people you love most, while lavishing them with the things they’ve been dreaming of and receiving everything you’ve always wanted.”

How can we not long for that kind of perfection?


But how can we have it when we’re struggling with missing a loved one who passed away? When we are confronted with a family member who is struggling with mental illness or addiction? When tough relationships poke at our deepest wounds and make us feel horrible inside?

Where is the magic when we’re struggling financially and can’t afford special extras for our children? When we’re struggling with a scary diagnosis or going through a messy divorce? What about when we’re so totally overwhelmed trying to live up to the hype that we’re struggling to put one foot in front of the other?

I know how it goes, believe me! I have been fortunate enough to enjoy my share of magical holiday moments, but I have also experienced my share of heartache at this time of the year. In fact, I’ve survived some of my darkest times when everything was supposed to be “merry and bright.”

I know how the lighted decorations can feel like spotlights directly on the heavy burden you can barely keep carrying.

I know the sting in your heart every time you’re confronted by images of other people’s perfect holiday moments, which are just not a possibility in your life at this time.

So in case your heart is aching with a grief or pressure or pain that just won’t quit, I want to reach out and connect with you to remind you that you are not at all – in any way, shape or form – alone.

You are not alone

It’s okay to struggle through this time of the year.

We all go through hard times, even those of us with picture-perfect holiday cards this year.

In case you need to hear it, I am SO so so so truly sorry for your loss or struggle or whatever challenge you’re going through.

I believe that you will rise above it all in good time.

And let me remind you what you probably know deep down but are forgetting in this difficult moment:

That the real spirit of the season isn’t about the kind of easy we see in holiday catalogs anyway …

It’s about perfect love being born in imperfect places.

It’s about life-changing, unconditional love, which transcends the limitations of time and space coming to earth because it wants to help with our messy, complicated human problems.

So I hope and pray with all of my heart that in the darkness of your struggle, this truest spirit of the season sneaks into your brokenness, so you can make some magical holiday memories this year in spite of it all.

How are you coping with your personal challenges this holiday season? What wishes do you have for others who are going through hard times?


  1. Barbara December 15, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    Awesome post. Thank you for this reminder. So much truth and comfort too.

    • Nicky December 15, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

      Thank you for reading and sharing, Barbara. That’s great to hear.

  2. Tina December 15, 2015 at 7:35 pm #

    This year is a “fake it til I make it” year. I put up the tree and we decorated. If I didn’t put out the village, or all three Nativity sets (I put up one), so be it. If the outdoor decorations only go around one window instead of the whole front of the house, at least they are there. I made time to take my boys to look at Christmas lights and ooh’ed and aah’ed, even though inside I was thinking this is a waste of gas. We’re not making as many Christmas cookies as we usually do…but we made some. Their presents aren’t as expensive as years past…but they still have plenty. I hope that, if anything stands out about this Christmas in my kids’ memories, it’s that Mommy had a really hard year, but she did her best to try to make it good for us.

    And through it all, prayers are always running, for strength, for peace, that I may comfort and in doing so be comforted.

    • Nicky December 15, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

      I’m sorry to hear that, Tina:( Good for you for doing your best to make Christmas special for your family! Joining you in prayers for your peace, comfort and strength and for your kids to have an amazing Christmas – I’m sure they feel your devotion to them.

  3. Lynn December 23, 2015 at 6:52 am #

    This is a great post! As I was reading, I was thinking that I want to share this everywhere. But I was a little confused at one point near the end. You say “It’s about life-changing, unconditional love, which transcends the limitations of time and space coming to earth because it wants to help with our messy, complicated human problems.” Just wondered why you said “it wants to help with our messy”…Why didn’t you say Jesus? I decided that I can’t share this because of the wording choice in that sentence. Sounds like a reference to some force or something but not Jesus.

    • Nicky December 23, 2015 at 8:10 am #

      Thanks for reading and for the honest feedback:) At the end, I thought it communicated my Christian perspective, while also being open enough to be thought provoking and respectful to readers of different faiths. I can respect that the article may not appeal to everyone. I hope you have a VERY Merry Christmas!!

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