Today’s broken culture leaves many men in a desperate fight for their lives during the holidays. When there’s supposed to be cheer in the air, warmth in our hearts and glad tidings on our lips, unfortunately the holidays also usher in the most dangerous time of the year.
Holidays can bring cherished moments with loved ones, special traditions and memories that last a lifetime. Holidays also bring an opportunity to bring hope to the hurting, love to the loveless and compassion to the lonely.
As we enter the holiday season, keep your eyes and heart open to the fact that many men need help, and need Jesus. Broken families can lead to feelings of shame and guilt. Financial pressures can undo our facades. Failed marriages and relationships can create discomfort and loneliness despite being surrounded by people. Men are like icebergs – you only see the tip. Below the waterlines this Holiday season are some sharks of the season that seek to devour them.
Although depression may occur at any time of the year, the stress and anxiety of the holiday season—from November through Valentine’s Day—may exacerbate a lack of fulfillment. One study showed the most common stressors were feelings of loneliness and "being without a family."
For many people, holidays are a painful reminder of what once was. This is especially true for people who have experienced a significant loss such as the death of a spouse or a break-up.
The season also brings the deadliest time of the year for the heart. According to one of “America’s Top Doctors” Dennis Goodman, more people will suffer a heart attack in the coming weeks than the rest of the year combined. Thousands of people will visit emergency rooms this season with arrhythmia -- often a warning sign of stroke or heart attack -- a diagnosis Dr. Goodman coined: “Holiday Heart” syndrome.
Many individuals suffering from the holiday blues will cope with the bottle or substance abuse. Research shows the holiday season is the most dangerous time of year for anyone trying to maintain sobriety from an addiction. And, more alcohol-related traffic fatalities are reported between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than any other time of year.
There is a significant uptick in suicide rates following Christmas—a 40 percent increase, according to one large Danish study. If your feelings of sadness during the holidays are accompanied by suicidal thoughts, call 911, immediately proceed to a hospital emergency room, or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
There’s a new season coming. A season filled with hope, love and peace. If you, or another man, are at risk this year, take to heart these practical ways to get right and get ready for what can be the best holidays ever.