alone at Christmas

It sounds very sad doesn’t it? The idea of spending the holiday by oneself is probably not something that many people would sign up for. Christmas is family time, when we are supposed to be with the ones we love and care for. But what if being together is not an option? Or what if family togetherness is counter-productive to the purpose of the season?

I don’t think that aloneness at Christmas has to be a sad thing. What is sad is when families or friends get together and someone abuses alcohol to the point of making others miserable. It is sad when those who have been physically or emotionally abused all year by family members are forced, in the name of celebration, to be with their abusers. It is sad when people fight and squabble and inflict pain on others at Christmas. Some people may be better off being alone at Christmas.

Marketers have done an excellent job of painting an unrealistic picture of the perfect family; gathered around the fireplace, singing carols and opening gifts. This is the reality for only a select few. Many families suffer division and heartbreak during the holiday. My heart goes out to those whose families are dysfunctional. But I wouldn’t want anyone to think that this is fatal or that Christmas has to be a depressing time.

The truth is, you can’t control anyone but yourself. If your family chooses to act irresponsibly, you do not have to join them in the misery. You are encouraged to confront the wrong in your family and, if possible, bring about healing. But ultimately, some families just can’t make it happen. If you find yourself facing a Christmas alone this year, don’t panic, you have time to do something about it.

There are lots of people who have to be away from family at Christmas. Work schedules, expensive travel and illness can prevent people from going to their family. Who are these people in your community? Elderly people in nursing homes are alone much of the time. Possibly you could reach out to someone in your neighborhood, a widow or widower, a single parent with a small child… the possibilities are endless.

Some may choose to be alone on Christmas and that is OK. Let’s not force our concept of a happy holiday celebration on others. Christmas can be a deeply and personal spiritual development process. Time spent reflecting on God and His Word, self-evaluation and challenge for a better new year can be very beneficial. Remember, solitude is one of the spiritual disciplines that often gets overlooked.

Don’t allow the prospects of a Christmas alone get you down.

While we may prefer to be with people we love, truly, we are never alone.

“Immanuel!” – God is with us!

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