When Christmas Feels Broken

by Tracie Miles December 21, 2021
“I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” Psalm 16:8 (NLT)
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I sat on the couch on Christmas Eve, trying to hold back my tears as my three children stood in front of me, presents in their arms, concerned and worried expressions on their faces.

They were headed to their paternal grandmother’s house for Christmas dinner, just as we had done for the past 25 years. But this year was different. My husband and I had separated just a few months earlier, so for the first time in their entire lives, they were going to the family holiday gathering without me.

I knew this was hard on them, too, so I put on a fake smile, assured them I would be fine and encouraged them to have a nice visit. But inside, my heart was aching. Not only did my family and Christmas feel broken, but I felt broken as well.

After they left, a deep sense of loneliness hung heavy in the air, drowning out the fresh pine scent of the tree. As I stared at the twinkling lights, the tears I had been holding back dripped down my cheeks.

Eventually, I breathed in a deep breath, exhaled a heavy sigh, wiped my tears and sat up straight. The only solace I could find was reminding myself of God’s promises in Scripture to always be with me — and even though my husband had left, my heavenly Father never would. I knew I needed to refocus on the fact that, though my life had changed, God was still the same sovereign God. I could have confidence that one day things would be OK, and so would I.

In Psalm 16, we read about a time when David, too, felt especially left behind, forgotten and afraid. Not only had his life changed, but he also may have been facing great danger in the wilderness when this psalm was written. Yet instead of letting his emotions shake him up, David shifted his attitude, intentionally choosing to capture his thoughts and refocus on God’s presence, which is exactly what I had to do that difficult Christmas.

We see evidence of this in Psalm 16:8 when David says, “I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.”

We can choose to make the same choice as David when we are enduring hard times. There are countless situations we all experience that can make us feel alone and abandoned — maybe you’re experiencing one right now. Your husband says he’s leaving. Your boss says you’re no longer needed. A family member leaves this world too soon. A friend betrays you. Circumstances turn your world upside down as you pick up the pieces of your broken heart and wonder if you’ll ever feel whole again.

Although the Christmas season should be a time of joy and celebration, our emotions can shake us up then, too. And just like David’s, our emotions maybe even shake our faith, especially if life has changed and the holidays don’t feel the same. Yet by reminding ourselves that God will never leave us or forsake us, and by keeping our focus on His presence, our hearts will be better equipped to handle anything we’re facing — at the holidays and all year long.

Lord, this season is hard, and I long to feel Your presence beside me and see You at work in my life. Help me to have confidence that You are always with me, and infuse me with hope, peace and joy I can’t find on my own. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


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To hear more encouragement from devotion writer Tracie Miles on “When Christmas Feels Broken,” join us TODAY for a short Facebook Live with Tracie! Join the Encouragement for Today Devotions Community group here and tune in at 3 p.m. ET, or watch the replay on your own time. We’ll see you there!


Hebrews 13:5, “… He Himself has said, ‘I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER ABANDON YOU …’” (NASB)

If you feel alone or lost this holiday season, ask God to make His presence feel close to your heart.

Do you have a friend or loved one going through divorce or another hard season? Reach out to them today and give them some encouragement; maybe invite them out for coffee or just give them a hug. And share your thoughts about today’s devotion with us in the comments!

© 2021 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

Join Joni and her husband, Ken, as they read through The One Year Pray for Life Bible in 2021. The One Year Pray for Life Bible provides the structure to help you read God’s life-changing Word in the clear and easy-to-read New Living Translation in just 15 minutes a day while you pray for the urgent need to protect life. Allow God to change you and everyone impacted by ethical life choices as you spend a year in the Word and on your knees.


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