Friday, December 18, 2015

Finding Joy When Separated From Your Family During Christmas

Written by Kerry Patton, Pastoral Care Ministry
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.  Psalm 25:16

Loneliness is a powerful and draining human emotion with many causes: Close friends may have moved away.  A mate has died, or perhaps the children have grown up and gone and the nest is now empty.  All too frequently, the situation is this: divorce has divided the home - and intimacy and companionship have been removed from an individual’s life. 
The Hebrew word for ‘lonely’ in Psalm 25:16 carries with it a sense of isolation in a solitary place…that one is so isolated that they are in a state of anxiety.  While Christmas may be for many a time of family reunions and friends gathering together, it can also be a season of great loneliness and isolation.  Many persons experience this at Christmas.  Perhaps you have known these feelings as well. 
Some years ago, one family found themselves isolated far from their extended family at Christmas.  They had always known Christmas as a time of reunion and fellowship with their parents and siblings.  However due to job constraints they could not make the lengthy journey of many miles to be with them for the holiday.  They struggled to try to make the best of the situation, but much of the joy of the season would likely be replaced by the loneliness of the separation.  Or so they thought.
Psalm 68:5-6a A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows is God in his holy dwelling.  God sets the lonely in families…” What an interesting consideration.  In the situation above, this family wound up being the guests of another family from their church…a family likewise isolated from their own extended family for the holiday.  Their joint holiday fellowship in difficult times forged friendships that have lasted the length of many years now.  God sets the lonely in families.  Indeed.
The prospect of opening your home for the holidays… (or joining someone else’s for that matter) can be quite intimidating, for frequently holidays are very intimate occasions celebrated by family and close friends together.  Faith requests the consideration that our God may be painting the blessing in reverse.  It may be that He is preparing new family and close friends which you will find in the intimate occasion of a shared holiday celebration…as “God sets the lonely in families.”
However the solution may not be so convenient…or simple.  You may find yourself alone for Christmas.  What then? In such a time, it is good to be assured that isolation from others does not mean that you are not remembered, loved, or thought of at any given moment (for surely you are).
Further, be assured of the presence and love of your Heavenly Father in those times.  …I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.  At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.  And surely, I am with you always, even to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

Scripture to Claim:

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.  1 John 1:6

Devotional Archive