Clergy Corner: Overcoming loneliness at Christmas
Dec 22, 2010 | 1337 views |  0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If Christmastime is wonderful for you, be thankful.

For many, the holidays are not an enjoyable time. For those who are experiencing loneliness, Christmas is a reminder of the way things used to be. A recent tragedy, financial challenge, or a death in the family can steal the joy of those who bear the brunt of life’s hurts.

Somewhere in our community, a discouraged widow did not bother putting up a tree this year. Because of financial hardship, a family will not be sitting down to a turkey dinner.

Unfortunately, the most painful reality for many is that it seems no one cares to listen; no one has the time. The Christmas music and decorations bring to mind the reality that there were better times.

Some crowd out their loneliness with activity. Going places and doing things are the way to drown out the silence of the holidays. Yet, regardless of how fast people move — loneliness pursues without relenting.

Loneliness is painful. The Bible explains, “It is not good that a man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18).

Often, lonely people feel out of place. The spiral of depression can lead downward to a dark place. One writer in the Psalms mourned, “Loved one and friend You [God] have put far from me, and my acquaintances into darkness.”

Those sentiments written hundreds of years ago remain relevant today. War, sickness, divorce, and the economy have created a lot of lonely people in 2010.

Millions go to their graves feeling alone. Why?

The short answer is that God created each of us with a need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I believe a person will sense loneliness until they establish a connection with God through faith. Our deepest friendships cannot substitute the innate need within each of us for God.

Jesus’ own personal experience with loneliness assures us that He cares for us when we feel lonely. Jesus was born in a lonely stable. After Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph escaped from Herod to Egypt in secret.

As a man, Jesus was tested alone in the wilderness. For much of Jesus’ ministry, He was alienated from the religious leaders and His own family. Jesus prayed alone in the Garden before His death.

When Jesus died on the Cross, He cried, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” If you are lonely, Jesus knows how you feel.

My hope is that you will experience a dynamic personal relationship with Jesus this Christmas. Jesus understands your loneliness. He wants to give you two special gifts this year: peace and encouragement.

If you are depressed or feel alone, get involved in a local church. Surround yourself with others who can provide love and support during the holidays. Spend time with God each day in prayer and in Bible reading.

In time, God will begin to affirm His presence within you. God has promised that He will never leave you. God is an “ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

May God’s presence remove the loneliness you may feel this Christmas season!

Chris Crain, Pastor, North Valley Church, Margaret

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