I wrote the following article in 1997 for the now defunct newsletter, Set Apart and Single. Perhaps it may be of some help for someone struggling now through the holidays.
It was truly an experience forever etched in my mind. It was December 24, 1995 and I was all alone. Not just alone, but desperately lonely with nothing but memories and tears to keep me company. To say that my first Christmas after my divorce was difficult would be an understatement. Twas not the season to be jolly for me. Being alone and lonely is a hidden heartache many feel during the holiday season.
It is my earnest prayer that no one go through a night like this, however. At the time I thought it was something I had to endure- and endure alone, but I was wrong. My mistake was in not seeking the comfort and compassion of family and friends. No one has to be alone for the holidays. There are much better alternatives.
- Surround yourself with support. Seek out those who care among family, friends, and church family. Don’t even wait to be asked. There are many who would welcome in another person in their Christmas celebration. Just let others know and seek them out. Do not suffer in silence.
- Focus on giving. Give of yourself during the holidays. Volunteer to serve the needy through a church or civic group. Proactively spread the goodwill of the season. It is amazing how serving others also blesses the server! It is reflective of the season and of who Christ wants us to be (Philippians 2:2-4).
- Look ahead, not back. Paul gave this divine advice a long time ago (Philippians 3:13-14) and it is still valuable counsel. While it may not be possible to remove past experiences of loss and pain, balancing them with the anticipation of what God has next in store for our lives offers great encouragement. Regardless of our past, God has a bright future in store for us.
- Find comfort in God’s presence. Think of the traditional meaning of Christmas. God sent Christ for us. In him we are never alone. He remains “our ever present help in time of need” (Psalm 46:1). Allow him to bring you the peace and goodwill of heaven during the challenges of the holiday season.
We all go through our own process after loss and heartbreak. Our challenge is to allow Christ to go through it with us- to lean upon him and his people to help soothe our grief and loneliness. Allow this to happen during the holidays also. I finally did. I learned that I do not have to be alone on the holidays. Neither do you. Christmas can be merry again.
Be strong in the Lord!