Loneliness at Christmas Affects Many Sisters and Brothers in Christ
When I began to write this article, the song “What do the lonely do at Christmas” by The Emotions came to mind. Perhaps it is because I remember my mother playing it every single year the weeks leading up to Christmas. It is one of those R&B songs that orphaned, single, or widowed people tend to connect with during the holidays as it shines a bright light on loneliness with these lyrics:
“’Tis the season to be jolly
But how can I be when I have nobody
The yuletide carol doesn’t make it better
Knowing that we won’t be together
A silent night, I know it’s gonna be
Joy to the world but it’s gonna be sad for me
What do the lonely do at Christmas
Oh, what do the lonely do at Christmas time.”
I can relate to the words of the song. Let’s be real, we have all experienced loneliness at some point in our lives, even as children. Yet, it feels like no one else can relate to us when we are in the thick of isolation during the holidays.
Perhaps you have had a difficult year, lost a loved one, endured the pain of losing a relationship, or just simply overwhelmed by the ending of one year and transitioning into a new one. Whatever your circumstance, the last thing we should do is celebrate the holidays alone and breed depression.
Human Connection is by God’s Design
The desire to be with other people during the holidays is natural – we are all human. Truth be told, God created us for companionship with others. The Bible tells us “It is not good that the man should be alone,” in Genesis 2:18. There is no amount of shopping or baking that could fill the emptiness of being without a companion. And, while it might not seem natural, it is certainly alright to mourn and be sad during such a season.
However, we must also understand and have faith that God is here with us through it all. His love for us stays strong and powerful. One of my most favorite verses in the Bible Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds” and it has been a go-to for more than two decades and has comforted and strengthened me.
Can any good come to those who are lonely at Christmas?
You see, God knows our hearts and He has a greater plan for us. Our pain and loneliness are not in vain as they exist for a reason.
Let’s consider the story of Mary in the Bible, when she learned that she was pregnant with the son of God, Jesus. She likely felt isolated. Her purity was questioned because of her pregnancy and she was frowned upon. After all, it was not ‘humanly’ possible for a virgin to bear a child, right? People looked at her with disgust, judging her and isolating her from others which likely resulted in loneliness and pain.
But God. He was always with her and even when she had to travel the distance at the latter part of her pregnancy, He was right there. She was rejected from the inn and forced to give birth in a stable. Yet, in the middle of such turbulent and lonesome times, she found beauty, comfort, and grace in her life.
God Will Never Leave nor Forsake You
Our Father God has an extraordinary love for us and He does not want us to live in sadness or feel as if we are forgotten or alone. His desire is for us to find peace and joy in Him and then share it with those around us. John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do, I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Regardless of how you are feeling in this moment of the holiday season, you are never alone. Jesus Christ is here, right here with you.
Let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas – God’s love that is greater than anything in the world and has no conditions. Do not allow the feelings of sadness and loneliness to cloud your understanding that God is and always will be there for you. He cares for your hurting heart today and always. You are His Beloved Child.
Those feelings of sadness and loneliness present an opportunity to be closer to our Father God. Let’s focus on His love for us versus those around us or those who are no longer with us. Only God can and will heal those feelings.
Allow your relationship with God to satisfy your lonely heart.
Turn your thoughts away from the absence of someone else, choose to be in the presence of God because He is enough. You don’t have to listen to Christmas music or trim a tree to celebrate the holiday this year. Simply allow God to enter your heart and take the loneliness away.
Here are five more ways to help alleviate the pain of loneliness this holiday season:
1. Connect with others around you.
Perhaps the senior citizens or a neighbor doesn’t have family to spend their holiday season with who would enjoy your company. Consider extending an invitation to them to do something together or stop by and gift them with your time or an open ear. Allow yourself to be with people and be a gift to others this season.
2. Be of service to those in need.
There are countless opportunities to connect with and support organizations in your community this time of year. Consider volunteering at a local shelter, read a book to children at a local library, deliver food for Meals on Wheels, offer to go shopping for a senior citizen, or help at a food pantry.
There are plenty of ways to help those in your community this time of year and I can assure you, they want and need your help.
3. Allow Jesus Christ to fill you cup.
Allow Jesus Christ to guide and direct you towards clarity, comfort, and peace. Read His Word and allow Him to come into your heart and remove the spirit of emptiness.
4. Pray for Others.
Be sure to pray for others. There are so many people struggling with circumstances of all kinds. There are individuals and families suffering from the epidemic of human trafficking. Let’s remember those who labor in ministry in the Kingdom of God, and the persecution of Christians around the world. Send up a prayer for them to our Father God.
5. Don’t stay in the house.
Turn off that Christmas music, you have played it enough. Get out and enjoy all the festivities that are going on around you. There are Christmas parades, tree lightings, creative workshops, and so much more going on. Step out and treat yourself to a moment with others. Fellowship with others in an environment that is both uplifting and joyous!
So, what’s the play call?
- Be gentle with yourself and know that it is OKAY to mourn the loss of someone.
- Remember to lean on God and allow Him to comfort you, He wants to help you. Christmas is not a time for sadness, it is a time to remember the joyous birth of Jesus Christ.
- Reach out to others around you to fellowship. Resist isolation and let others who want to love on you do so.
- Volunteer your time and efforts: visit senior citizens, volunteer at a shelter or food pantry. The opportunities are endless.