If Christmas is the loneliest time of the year for you, you are not alone. Not only does a Google search reveal that half a million elderly adults will find themselves alone this holiday, other articles write of the millions of singles who struggle with the holiday too.
The weird thing about being lonely is you can be feasting on a beautiful Christmas dinner cooked by Aunt Maud or your fiance’s mother, and be surrounded by family, yet experience a gaping hole inside. It might be homesickness or singleness that is causing the sadness. Sometimes it’s change of seasons or grief that stirs the ache.
Some of us are empty-nesters. Our baby birds have married other cute birds, and now we have to share because that’s what we taught our kids to do. So, during the holidays we have to take turns with the kids; therefore, they spend the holiday with the in-laws, and we find ourselves trying to go on a cruise, anything to miss the empty Christmas morning once filled with giggles and Santa.
The Truth About Loneliness
I have lived through every one of these scenarios (except the elderly one–I’m not that old yet!) Through the years, I’ve learned three truths about loneliness that can change your perspective and help you celebrate Christmas this year with purpose and joy.
Truth 1: It’s ONE day. After living half a century, I’m beginning to see a pattern about feelings and holidays. They don’t last. I remember being homesick every holiday we couldn’t go home as a military family. Now I don’t think twice about it. Life did not change, but I did. I also remember the first Christmas none of my kids were coming home. I was so sad! Now, a few years later I’m really okay if we celebrate on Thanksgiving instead. God has been faithful to help me grow and find the blessings in the change.
Truth 2:There is a neighbor or friend or someone in my church who is lonely too. I am not alone in my loneliness; therefore, I need to reach out to others and invite them to my home or out to dinner, or something! The power of loneliness is broken when we place our eyes on someone else’s needs.
Truth 3: Christmas is about God being with us. We are not alone. I know, this is easier said than felt. However, God invites us to meet Him in our lonely places. He came to live with us. Loneliness opens time to dig into the Word and experience His faithfulness. Here’s a reading plan with 6 scriptures and prompts to help you experience God’s presence through His Truth. (Grab the Printable!)
Bite of Bread Reading Plan on God’s Presence (Printable)
Isaiah 57:15: For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Prompt: “Contrite” has been translated from the Hebrew word Daka which carries the meaning of to be cast down, be humbled, broken in pieces and crushed (Key Word). Pride separates us from God. He dwells with the humble. Thank Him for those humbling moments in your life and ask Him to reveal any prideful places.
Psalm 139:7: Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
Prompt: I love the intimate relationship of the psalmist and God. He acknowledges that God has been with Him even in His mother’s womb, and there is nowhere he can go without God present. What is good about believing God is always with you?
Jeremiah 29:13: You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Prompt: I love this promise even more than the famous verse 11 preceding it. What is sweet about this promise? Write down a time when you experienced its truth.
1 John 4:12: No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Prompt: What have you noticed about the Spirit of God living in you? How do you know He is there?
John 14:16: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—
Prompt: According to this verse, what is the purpose of the Holy Spirit? How do you need Him to help you today? Write a prayer.
Matthew 1:23: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Prompt: What is the significance of God coming to live with us? What did He do while He was here? Why would He do that?
Get the Free Printable!
The truth can set us free, and I hope that the three truths I’ve learned through the years and the scriptures above will give your heart wings to fly this Christmas season, but I also want to give you three tangible things you can do to battle loneliness.
Three Things to Do if You’re Fighting Loneliness
- Write a Christmas card, buy a poinsettia, or bake some cookies to take to an elderly neighbor. Or consider visiting a nursing home and taking cards to the residents.
- Invite single people in your church or workplace to your home for Christmas day. Make it a pot-luck!
- Be intentional studying the Bible this season. Work through the Bite of Bread reading plan and journal about your loneliness, but also write about His goodness.
My Prayer for You
Hold my hands. I want to pray for you. “Jesus, thank you. Thank you for being present with us. Thank you for visiting our planet and sending your Spirit so that we are never alone. Use our loneliness to bless others. May you be glorified! Take our eyes off our holes and place them on you, Emmanuel. God. With. Us. We love you. Amen.”
What do you do to fight loneliness? Leave a comment and bless somebody!