Issue #9 - December 24, 2011  

Counseling Comments & Insights
Debbra Bronstad, MS   

Marriage & Family Therapist Intern

Grief Recovery Specialist

Life Coach 

Serving men, women, children and couples in San Luis Obispo County  

(805) 242-3569 

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Arroyo Grande  



(805) 242-3569 

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The First Christmas

Christmas can be a wonderful time to celebrate the gift of God's Son with family and friends, but it also can bring to the surface emotional pain.

  • Maybe you have dreaded Christmas because of conflict or disappointment with family members...?  
  • Have you lost a loved one (or more than one) in recent years and the season feels lonely and isolating...?
  • Perhaps you or your family members have addictions that seem to get more out of control during the holidays...?
  • Do you long for the celebrations you remember from the past and now nothing seems to measure up to your expectations...?

During a sad season for me a few years ago, I began a new holiday tradition to watc
The Nativity Story DVD
Click here to see on Amazon
h the movie, The Nativity Story. When I am lonely at Christmas, missing my family 2500 miles away, and my Mom and my in-laws who passed away in recent years, it helps me to remember that the first Christmas was not about smiling family around the adorned Christmas tree opening presents and singing carols. 

The movie depiction brings me back to what life was really like as Mary and Joseph followed God's plan to bring His son, Jesus, into the world.   

The movie portrays the tyranny and abuse of the Roman government on the Jewish people.  They lived as farmers, taxed at something like 50% of their meager earnings. Mary suffered the scorn of her friends and neighbors because of an unwed pregnancy. Bethlehem was a long and arduous journey for a woman eight months pregnant. 

When young Mary went into labor she delivered without the option of a "home birth." She did not have the help of her mother and other female relatives to coach her. 

This was probably not the way she imagined having her first child. 

Maybe this is not the way you intended to have Christmas this year... Someone you love is not with you...or not meeting your needs.  And it hurts. No one could have prepared you for the pain in your heart right now. 

Take some time to remember the First Christmas and know you are not alone in your disappointment. The whole point of Christmas is that a baby was born in Bethlehem, whose name is Immanuel, which means, "God with us" (Matthew 1:23).

That is why I can say, and joyfully receive the words, "Merry Christmas" even in a season of sadness.


Check out these links to other articles and tips for dealing with the holidays when you are hurting on our Facebook Page:

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Don't ignore the pain and hope it will go away.   Let me answer your questions about recovery from loneliness, grief, and depression.  Call me and I'll share with you a simple plan to make 2012 a year of healing.

Merry Christmas!




Debbra Bronstad

Debbra Bronstad, MS  (805) 242-3569

Marriage & Family Therapist Intern IMF 62480
Certified Grief Recovery Specialist
Supervisor: Sandra Sawyer, LCSW, LCS 12477