This post was originally published in December 2017.
You’ve had a hard year. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one, experienced the end of a relationship, or have been overwhelmed by disappointments and suffering. The last thing you want to do is celebrate the holidays alone as depression creeps in.
The longing to be with other people during the holidays is natural. God created us for companionship with one another. “It is not good that the man should be alone,” the Bible says in Genesis 2:18. No amount of Christmas cookies or shopping can fill the void of another person.
So it’s OK to cry, to mourn and be sad. But know God is here with you. He loves you deeply. As Psalm 147:3 proclaims, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Sometimes, though, it doesn’t feel that way. It can be hard to see what God is doing in the midst of trouble. You may feel forgotten or unloved. Your view of God may become callous due to the circumstances around you.
But God knows your heart and has a much bigger plan for you.
When Mary, the mother of Jesus, became pregnant with Him, she probably felt very alone. Few believed that the virgin had become pregnant by the Spirit and not by man. The situation appeared scandalous, and gossip probably roamed the streets.
Yet, God was with her—even when she had to travel a long way at the end of her pregnancy and give birth to her firstborn far from home. There was no room for her at the inn, so she was in a dark stable while giving birth to the Light of the world. Even in one of life’s most troublesome and darkest times, she found the greatest joy and hope of her life.
God has extraordinary love for you and doesn’t want you to live in despair or hopelessness. He wants you to find joy in Him and share that joy with others. The Bible says in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Despite how you feel during the holidays, you are never alone. In fact, Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be with you. That is the true meaning of Christmas—love so great that it knows no bounds or distance. The separation you may feel from others this season is nothing compared to the distance that God has already gone for you.
Nevertheless, He cares for your hurting heart this season and sees you as His beloved.
“The most important thing I can tell you is that we are never alone when we know Christ,” Billy Graham once said in this My Answer.
Let the relationship with the One who made you satisfy the void in your soul. Instead of focusing on the absence of someone else, choose to let the presence of God be enough. You don’t have to listen to Christmas music or hang up stockings to celebrate the holiday this year; you simply have to know the love of a Savior who desires to be with you through every season of life.
Here are five more ways to help alleviate the pain of loneliness this Christmas:
1. Reach Out to Those Around You
Maybe you have a neighbor who has no family nearby or know of friends who would love to invite you over if they knew you were feeling so alone. Take the first step of being with others by reaching out to them. Give yourself an opportunity to be with people and be a gift to others this season.
2. Help Those in Need
There are plenty of ways to help those in your community this time of year. Whether volunteering at a local food pantry or watching kids while their parents go Christmas shopping, actively find an activity that you’re passionate about and show up. Put yourself out there for the sake of others, being a good steward of the gifts that God has given you. And you may be surprised at the community you create through helping others.
3. Let the Presence of Jesus Fill Your Heart
Take this time of less distraction from social activities to get to know your Savior even more. Read His Word and seek Him out to see what He wants to teach you during this time.
4. Pray for Others
If you hear of someone else going through a rough time, stop and pray for that person right then. And don’t be afraid to ask for prayer for yourself.
5. Get Out of the House
There are all sorts of different Christmas activities to enjoy this time of year—concerts, plays, cantatas, candlelight services, caroling and parties. Join in on the festivities and fellowship with others in adoration of our Savior.