It’s the holiday season, a time of joy, activity, shopping, parties with lots of food, cookies, candy and, of course, family gatherings. I love the holidays, but when you don’t have a job, the first reaction is to not feel quite as merry as in previous years.

All sorts of thoughts run through your head and you might be saying to yourself, “I don’t have the money to spend this year. I don’t really want to attend any parties this year. I don’t want to be around people, and I certainly don’t want to answer the questions I know I’ll get, like ‘What happened?’, ‘How’s the search going?’, and ‘Are you still looking?’”

Have any of those crossed your mind? My guess is one of two of those have, and I understand where you’re coming from as I’ve been there myself. Yes, people will ask questions, and some will not think about how they ask their question, and it’ll sting.

Before you make your decision on what you do, I have some thoughts I’d like to share with you.

1) What example are you sharing?

Whether you like it or not, others are watching you. Your spouse, your children, your family, and friends are all looking at you to see how you react. If you avoid everything, do you realize you’re saying when life gets difficult – and, believe me, a job loss is – you should hide and avoid people. Is that the example you want people to see? Or, do you pick yourself up, attend events and have people say, “Wow, when life got tough, he/she didn’t hide. I hope I have the strength and courage to do that.” I’d rather have them be in awe of how you handled a difficult situation.

2) Who needs to see you?

You might not realize how many people need and want to see you. Trust me, there are many. You’re important to them, they care about you, they want to be with and support you. Their questions show they care about you. Take those questions as a sign of their love, not bringing up a subject you don’t like to talk about.

3) You need to be loved.

The holidays will give you an opportunity to be loved and to receive some of God’s amazing grace through the people you spend time with. Especially when you’re unemployed, you need a little “loving” from friends and family.

4) Why are we celebrating?

It’s not a celebration for you and me. We’re supposed to be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, our savior. That is the best news you and I could ever receive and it’s a reason for some serious celebrating.

In Luke 2, verse 10, the angels announced his birth saying …I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Did you notice that it said “all of the people”? Yes, even those of us struggling with unemployment. He came for you and me because of our struggles. He cares about you, he loves you. Nothing is better.

I hope you won’t take the holidays off. Please celebrate! Go to parties and spend time being with people. Let them love you as Christ loves us