For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. – Luke 2:11
For several years, I enjoyed singing in a church Christmas choir. I balanced precariously on the risers, surrounded by my fun alto friends and the rapturous Christmas music we sang. In this spot, I felt a huge, concentrated dose of God’s Christmas love.
However, one lyric bothered me: “It’s our very favorite time of year!” It sure wasn’t mine!
I loved Christmas musicals, but as a single mom I sometimes dreaded the holidays. Divorce politics and logistics intensified the usual holiday stress. The season’s emphasis on family themes highlighted my divorce situation, and I felt sad for my children. I felt alone, even as we celebrated with extended family.
Gradually, I dared to believe that God would meet our emotional needs at Christmas. The more I traced his sovereign love through the difficult events of the past, the more I trusted him to fill our empty Christmases with his love. Together, my children and I experienced his peace and joy at Christmas. I discovered a marvelous, paradoxical truth: Christmas is perfect for those who are alone, grieving, or otherwise merrily-challenged! The prophet Isaiah foretold Jesus’ ministry this way: “The… Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted… to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor… to comfort all who mourn… to give them the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.” (Isaiah 61:1-3) Pondering his birth is never more meaningful and uplifting than when we are brokenhearted.
If you’re facing a lonely Christmas, take some time to pray through your fears and feelings. Let God help you release your expectations for the holidays and embrace your reality. Remember that you are never alone, because “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.” (Psalm 34:18) You may also want to attend a Christmas service where you can soak up the powerful, transforming truths of the Christmas message.
Accept and embrace your lonely Christmas, and see what God does. If a Christmas angel visited you today, perhaps his message would be, “Fear not the lonely Christmas, for God has sent it and He loves you. It is your invitation to intimacy with Him.” Oh tidings of comfort and joy!