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“Have a holly jolly Christmas,” Burl Ives sings, “It’s the best time of the year.” But sometimes it doesn’t feel like the best time of the year. For many of us, the time around Christmas is actually the worst time of the year.

Rather than having time with family and friends, we might find ourselves alone and feeling lonely. Perhaps we’re feeling the absence from our lives of family and friends we’ve lost. Rather than enjoying stuffed stockings and piles of gifts, we’re aware of how financially stretched we are. And this year we might be mourning the fact that we must make due with a Zoom meeting instead of spending time in person with those most important to us. These experiences hurt, especially at Christmas time.

We’ve gathered this set of fourteen Today devotions to reassure you that even during the darkest of Christmas seasons you’re not alone.

While it may seem like you’re the only one not experiencing the “good news” that brings “great joy,” you’re not alone in your heartache. We celebrate Christmas because Jesus is Immanuel, literally, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Whether you’re hurting because of loneliness, finances, loss—or any number of other reasons—the good news is that God is right there with you.

Scripture gives us this glorious invitation: “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8). We pray these devotions provide an opportunity for you to draw closer to God during this Christmas season. 

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Jeff Bulthuis is managing editor of the Today daily devotional.

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