“Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” Isaiah 49:16 CSB
Loneliness during the holidays is something that isn’t just felt by single people. Thousands of military personnel spend the holidays overseas far from family and friends. People in unhappy marriages can feel alone and isolated. Even in the midst of a crowd of people, one can feel lonely. But we are never alone, God is always with us, especially during the holidays. After all, Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior. My loneliest holiday was spent in Toronto, Canada when I was a Flight Attendant. Far from my family, with people I barely knew, I felt alone and isolated. Then I opened the drawer of my bedside table in the hotel and found a Gideon Bible. I opened up it’s pages and began to read, letting the Scriptures remind me, I wasn’t alone.
Here are some practical tips to help overcome loneliness during the holiday from this article. First, set simple and realistic expectations for the Holidays. Hallmark Christmas movies are wonderful, but they aren’t realistic. Most of us won’t be skiing in Vail with prince charming this year. No matter how picture perfect someone’s life looks like from the outside, it isn’t. Don’t get overwhelmed trying to make the holidays perfect, be realistic. Keep the holidays simple. And think about who you want to spend the holidays with this year. Be honest with friends and family about your struggles, let them come beside you and help you through it. If we don’t tell people we’re struggling, they don’t know. Be open, be honest, make plans in advance to ensure you aren’t alone.
We’ve talked about this before, but don’t overspend. Going into debt over the holidays will only add anxiety to an already difficult time. My favorite thing to do during the holidays is to find a small homemade gift I can give to friends and family. I learned long ago, when you’re being creative, you can’t be depressed. Have a craft day with friends, spend the afternoon together being creative and economical. I have friends I get together with each year to make biscotti, it’s a highlight of my season. Volunteer at church or a non-profit organization over the holidays, helping others will help you.
But most of all, remember the reason for the season. Focus on the gift of Jesus, laid in a manger, for us. Spend time with the Christmas story. Think about Mary and Joseph’s lonely trek to Bethlehem, not being able to find proper shelter, sleeping with the animals. That was the first Christmas. No tree, no expensive gifts, just Jesus. Because in all reality, He is all we really need.
Today I’m going to rest from loneliness by focusing on Jesus. How can you find rest today? Comment below.