What To Do When the Holidays are Hard

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I grew up with happy Christmases. My kids grew up with happy Christmases. Many friends have happy Christmases. What about when the holidays are hard?

In the past several years, my holidays are not happy. Trials and suffering challenge my “happy Christmas”. What about you?

holidays are hard

For many, Advent and Christmas are difficult.  Some of us struggle through trials. We try hard to keep Christ the focus as it gets closer to the celebration & hope in Jesus birth. But it’s hard!  By any chance, are you struggling with . . .

  • Child not walking with Jesus
  • Difficulties in your marriage
  • Illness in your family
  • Recent death or divorce
  • Problems with relationships – family or friends
  • Parent or loved one with dementia

We are all in a battle here on earth. The enemy is not your prodigal child, not your spouse, not your friend who betrayed us, not your sibling who harbors bitterness, not your loved one who died or is sick. Your enemy is in the heavenlies, trying to destroy marriages, families, friendships. Your enemy will do anything to take our eyes off God, even in the midst of celebrating God’s Son’s birth.

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:14

So many circumstances can take our eyes off the Lord during Advent. But God gives us tools, instruments, weapons to overcome these trials, as well as our enemies. Even at Christmastime!

What are these tools to overcome suffering and trials?

Awhile back, I was asked if I dressed myself (and my family) in the armor of God each day.  To be truthful, I had never thought about dressing myself in God’s armor.  I knew I needed to put on my armor to fight the enemy, but I did not see it as a daily activity.  God used that question to help me put on my armor every day.

I dress my self physically everyday, so how do I dress myself spiritually each day? When my kids were young, I dressed them everyday. Was I dressing them spiritually each day? I decided to take action spiritually.

How do I dress myself now?

Before I get out of bed each morning, I open a note on my phone (below). I pray this for Steve, our kids and me everyday.  I want each of us to be prepared for daily battle against our true enemy.

Bind Satan, demons, flesh, all our enemies . . . in the name of Jesus Christ

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. stand firm against all strategies of the devil.”  Ephesians‬ ‭6:10-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Put on.

Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.  Ephesians‬ ‭6:13-18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The second half of my prayer includes other battle instruments God has given us.  I pray these for each person in my family. I trust God that He will protect us through the weapons he provides.  What are these other battle weapons?

  1. Blood of Jesus – That each of us is covered in Jesus’ blood and can enter the holy place, a place of protection
    we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus Hebrews 10:19
  2. Hedge of thorns around each of us
    For this reason I will fence her in with thornbushes. Hosea 2:6
  3. Protective wall of fire
    Then I, myself, will be a protective wall of fire around  Jerusalem, says the Lord. And I will be the glory inside the city! Zechariah 2:5
  4. God’s Angel Army fighting for us
    Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire. 2 Kings 6:17

God does not leave us in our trials to flounder. He gives us weapons to overcome our trials, temptations and enemy.  God is the victor. He is not up in heaven twiddling his thumbs hoping we are okay during Christmastime.  He always defeats Satan. The battle we have is with our enemy, Satan (not God, not man)

holidays are hard

You may think this is an unusual post for Christmas time.  The enemy is alive and well during the holidays., making it difficult when the holidays are hard. He knows that times with family can bring up old wounds, bitterness, anger. He uses it to take your eyes off Jesus.

  • Don’t let the enemy pull you down.
  • Put on God’s armor each and every day.
  • Take up the battle weapons God has given you.

What ties all these weapons together?


Prayer is the strategy to put on our armor; to use our God-given weapons. Prayer allows us to humbly fall before God, asking Him to dress us and allow us to mightily fight the enemy with our weapons.

Unfortunately, most of us are too busy to pray. Oh, we pray before we eat (usually). But the busyness of life squeezes out the most important activity we can do every day.

I have an alarm that goes off at 7am everyday to remind me to pray.  I also have an alarm that goes off at 3pm to pray again for my family.  If you and I can spend an average of 50 minutes a day on Facebook, surely we can find 10-15 minutes to talk to our Father. This is not a guilt trip; it’s a plea to use your God-given weapons to overcome the difficulties when the holidays are hard.

Stop right now. Decide when you are going to pray. Set an alarm on your phone. Add the verses you will pray.  Start praying each day before you start all your other activities.

I promise it will change your holidays . . . and your life.

To help you pray Scripture, I have my Joy Scripture Cards that you can grab for free right now. They can help you in finding joy during the holidays. Enter your name & email below and we’ll zip them on over.

Print each Joy verse card to pray over. OR…save each Joy verse card to your phone and pray from your phone. This can be a simple way to find joy at Christmas.

Question: How do you overcome difficulties and suffering during Christmas, the holiday season? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  1. Thanks Kerry for the reminder to pray for my family, others, and myself. But I can only do this if I can remember that God fights my battles. The armor of God helps me not to drown from the heaviness of disappointments from those around me, especially coming from family. I can lift my chin up and be encouraged by God’s word even when things are still hard for me and my family.

    1. Well said. God is always the victor so we can trust in Him to fight our battles and win. Sometimes I don’t see the victory now, but I know He is doing what is best to destroy our enemy.

  2. I love the truth that is shared in this article. The Lord has been continually reminding me my battleground is prayer. The words of this poem given to me 20 years ago are so true. People may spurn your appeals, reject your messages, and oppose your arguments, but they are helpless against your prayers.

    Blessings fellow prayer warrior

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