When Christmas Feels Broken

by Tracie Miles December 15, 2023
"I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me." Psalm 16:8 (NLT)

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 and ready to walk out the door, yet with concerned and worried expressions on their faces.

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

I knew this was hard on them, too, so I 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 feel broken but Christmas felt broken, and 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. The tears I had been holding back dripped down my cheeks.

After a few minutes, though, I breathed a heavy sigh, wiped my tears and sat up straight. I reminded myself of God's promises in Scripture to be with me always. Even though my husband had left, my heavenly Father never would. I knew I needed to refocus on the fact that even though my life had changed, God was still the same.

In Psalm 16, we read about a time when David, too, felt especially left behind, forgotten and afraid. When he wrote this passage, he was likely hiding in the woods, knowing that his enemy, Saul, and his army were in hot pursuit to find David and kill him. Yet instead of letting his emotions shake him up, David shifted his attitude and intentionally chose to refocus on God’s presence.

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

We can make the same choice as David when we are enduring hard times. When a spouse says they’re leaving. A boss says we’re no longer needed. A loved one or family member leaves this world too soon. A friend betrays us. Trying to pick up the pieces of our broken hearts, we're left wondering if we’ll ever feel whole and unbroken again.

Especially in the joy and celebration of the Christmas season, faith-shaking circumstances can shake us up much like David. But even if this season doesn’t feel the same, we can remind ourselves that God will never leave us or forsake us. Keeping our focus on His presence helps us feel less shattered and alone, equips us to handle the emotions of the holidays, and prepares us to be spiritually ready for anything the future holds.

Lord, this season is hard, and I long to feel Your presence beside me and to see You at work in my life. Help me have confidence that You are always with me, and infuse me with hope and peace I can’t find on my own. Give me joy in this season of celebrating Your birth, no matter my circumstances. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


If you are feeling broken due to divorce and need help getting through the holidays, purchase Tracie’s book Living Unbroken: Reclaiming Your Life and Your Heart After Divorce. Also check out the accompanying Living Unbroken: A Divorce Recovery Workbook, a one-of-a-kind, seven-week program for individuals or small groups, which also includes a Leader's Guide and seven beautiful teaching videos featuring Tracie Miles to help you heal and grow beyond the pain of divorce.



Follow Tracie on Instagram to find out how you could win a Living Unbroken book and workbook bundle! You can also visit her on Facebook.


Psalm 94:19, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy” (NIV).

Do you know a friend or loved one who’s going through divorce or another hard season? Consider reaching out to them today with some encouragement, inviting them out for coffee, or just giving them a hug.

If you feel alone or lost this holiday season, how can you pray for God to make your heart sensitive to His presence? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

© 2023 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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