Recently I read a post by Pastor Rick Warren reminding us to remember the lonely at Christmas. While celebrating Christmas is a joyful and family-filled time for many, it is an acute time of loneliness for some and rather than relieve it, festivities and activity can actually accentuate the pain.
The Warrens are still walking through the valley of their adult son’s suicide and of course the nostalgia and memories that Christmas is known for can bring back painful memories of a loved one no longer with us. He had four practical suggestions for those who experience loneliness or grief this time of year.
- Make good use of your time. While medicating our pain with busyness is not necessarily healthy, idle time gives too many opportunities for our mind and memories to go to hard places. Don’t withdraw. Get involved where you can.
- Minimize the pain. Don’t rehearse the hurt. Don’t deteriorate into resentment toward others or bitterness for those who may have hurt you. Keep your mind focused on positive things as much as possible.
- Get the focus off yourself. Find others who need comfort or company or an understanding friend. Lots of people are hurting this time of year. Empathize with their suffering, and God will bless you as you do.
- Remember that, for the Christian, no person is ever truly alone. The very meaning of the name of Jesus given in the prophecy of Isaiah was “Immanuel” which means, “God is with us.”
No more lonely scene can be found in the Bible than the picture of Joseph and Mary walking into Bethlehem that first Christmas night. In the midst of the business, the hustle of visitors to the overcrowded hamlet, the storekeepers and innkeepers dealing in loud voices with the crowd moving in to their little town for a few nights, the Christ child was born.
But the birth of Jesus was not welcomed by a loving family surrounding the young couple. They were visited by strange, Bedouin sheep keepers and somewhere, the rumor of angels. Loneliness met them that night. If you’re alone, Jesus understands you.
And He will never leave you. He promised.
FOR MEDITATION: And the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bring forth a child, and will call his name “Immanuel,” God with us. Isaiah 7:14
FOR REFLECTION: Who in your life and network or relationships may be most lonely this Christmas season? Make a plan to reach out to them… you never know when your phone call, text or visit may be just what they need most for Christmas!