“Why aren’t you smiling? It’s (insert holiday here) and we’re supposed to be joyful!”
Said to countless people by countless people at family gatherings, parties, or church services relating to holidays.
It’s OK to feel great around the holidays. It’s OK to celebrate. It’s OK to laugh, dance, and sing for joy.
It’s not just OK — it’s wonderful. Celebrating is wonderful.
But telling folks who aren’t feeling the celebration that they should get with the program isn’t.
Around the holidays, many people feel intensified grief or re-experience trauma. They don’t want to celebrate in the midst of it.
Please be aware of the range of experience folks have with holidays. You don’t have to try to “fix” anything. Give space, presence, and peace to all.
Here are a few helpful resources
Recognizing Holiday Triggers of Trauma from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Holiday Depression and Stress from Behavioral Health Services North
Holiday Self Care from the Interfaith Network on Mental Illness
Blessings and peace to you.
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. Hebrews 10:24
Rev. Kirk Moore (he, him, his)
Kirk Moore (he, him, his) is a guitarist, vocalist, and a certified music practitioner, (CMP). He’s also the pastor of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Downers Grove, IL and a member of the executive board of the UCC Mental health Network. Find out more about therapeutic music here.