Christmas amplifies loneliness. It doesn’t create it but it certainly magnifies it.
For some people as they see others enjoying family and friends it brings them face to face with their own emptiness. It’s one reason Christmas is so hard for so many.
During the year it’s easier to stay busy with work, hobbies and volunteer activities. The loneliness may hide in the shadows but if you stay busy enough you can keep it at bay.
But at Christmas, when everything slows down, many are brought face to face with their emptiness.
And so for a few days they have to deal with the deep hollow in their hearts.
Yet, I see the Christmas story as a star shining in this darkness. It was meant to be a beacon of hope.
We pick up the story in Bethlehem where Mary and Joseph have traveled because of a census that has been commanded by Caesar.
“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2: 6-7 NIV)
The core message of Christmas is that God came into this world he created, as a person, so he could meet us in our aloneness and we could have a personal relationship with him.
And that relationship flows out of simply accepting it.
Frankly, that’s it. That’s what it’s all about.
We never need to be profoundly lonely again.
Sure when we’re apart from our loved ones we miss them. And when we remember the good times we had with loved ones who are gone we still mourn that loss of course.
I do every Christmas as I think about my parents and I miss Christmas with them.
But deep inside our heart there is a sense of God’s presence with us in a way that we realize we’re not alone. That no matter how distant we may feel from other people we’ll sense God’s love and presence with us.
And my experience has been in those times of loneliness I’ve felt his presence even more. Often in those times I’ve felt closest to God. And I’m reminded of the good news of Christmas.
Christmas is a time that magnifies loneliness but it was meant to be a time that magnifies God’s love.
When have you felt God’s presence in times of loneliness?