Every time I’ve sat down near a screen these impending days before December 25th, it seems to be showing “A Christmas Carol.” It’s a holiday classic. Probably a tradition for some of you to watch it with your families, or maybe the Mickey Mouse version, which is far more up my alley than the 1984 version with the creepy children legs. Watch it, you’ll get it.
And reflecting upon why it’s been so hard for me to write something encouraging about Christmas, I realized I’m stuck in my visit with Christmas past.
Our family has shifted and changed the last many years, and frankly, Christmas doesn’t FEEL like Christmas. Our traditions have also shifted and changed. And the shifting has left me disappointed so many times I don’t even know how to be joyful about this seaon.
When the presents are unwrapped, and the people have left, I've become what I fear the most; alone.
Our post is late this week because it took many days of external processing, thinking, crying, and wallowing, all leading to a parking garage at the Irvine Spectrum (right before Christmas shopping) to figure out why I’m such a Scrooge about this holiday: I know I’m going to feel so alone on Christmas.
But the beautiful thing about it is, I know there are an incalculable amount of other weary hearts that can relate to me. So to you, my fearful of Christmas loneliness, can we fight past this together?
Dear Alone on Christmas,
I don't know why you're alone. I don't know what circumstances have led you to this place of isolation when it feels like the rest of the world is gathered in a warm group hug.
Social media doesn't help. It amplifies the woes and wounds of comparison. It leaves you feeling strangely addicted to befriending the pain of knowing what you're missing out on.
But I think everyone feels a tinge of loneliness at some point during the Christmas season. Because essentially what this time is about is the birth of Someone who is not tangibly with us.
There is this absent feeling that comes with this time and I think it strikes deeper than lost loved ones or apparent loneliness. Fundamentally, we were wired to be with Jesus. We were made by a Creator, for that Creator. And when we are remembering/celebrating the initial coming of His tangible presence, when He is not tangibly here, it can create a longing in the heart.
Our souls desire to be with their Maker.
Our spirits need their Reviver.
Our bodies crave the Resurrection.
So what do we do with this justifiable loneliness?
We fill it with hope which fills us with faith.
Faith is an unwavering hope that God is who He says He is.
I don't doubt that your circumstances are less than your ideal. I understand the longing for that one Hallmark movie moment with the feeling being complete.
But don't lust after something that won't fulfill you friend. We need to stop making this time about us. Let's take the “me” out of Christmas. But how? Switch your internal focus to an eternal perspective. Jesus came, so we worship. But one day soon, He is coming again. So we worship till then. And then we'll finally be made whole in eternity, praising Him.
Choose to take yourself out of Christmas. Decide to be a servant of good and a seeker of gratitude. And know you are fundamentally not alone. God is at the ready to care for your hurts. And we are at the ready to pray for you. Hoping a great Christmas for you friend.