It’s that time of year again. You know the one I mean. The holidays! Just today I was preparing a shipment for my sister’s family in the States. A Christmas shipment filled with presents for the nephew and nieces. If I don’t send it now, it might not make it in time for Christmas day. In fact, it may already be too late. We will have to see!
Such emphasis is placed on Thanksgiving and Christmas and being with family. This emphasis makes it hard for those of us who are single and away from family. My least favorite Christmas song is ‘I’ll have a Blue Christmas’ and I LOVE Christmas songs. However, every time it comes on, I skip to the next song.
So what can we do for the Holiday Blues? (That sounds like it should be a song. A 1940’s song with a swing rhythm. Hmmm, that is an idea!)
How about creating your own traditions? One’s that take your focus off yourself and put it on someone or something else.
My brother inspired this blog post. He is a former soldier with at least two tours overseas and lives in a part of the US that is far from family. When I talked to him a short time ago I asked him, ‘What are you doing for Thanksgiving?’ He proceeded to tell me.
He will be following a tradition our family has had for many years.
This tradition started when my parents were in college. They invited single college students with no place to go for Thanksgiving. This tradition continued when we left for Portugal as missionaries. In Portugal we took in soldiers from a local air base, basketball players in a foreign country, British ex-pats, other American missionaries and anyone who needed the closeness of family.
My brother is following that tradition by starting his own.He will be inviting friends who have no family close, have no family or cannot travel to visit family. He will be creating his own ‘family’ for Thanksgiving.
The holidays are hard for single people. Usually they are away from family and have no way to get home for the holidays. Their thoughts turn inward. ‘I am away from home.’ ‘I have no family around me.’ ‘I am by myself during the holidays.’ ‘Poor me!’ Instead, why not say, ‘That person has no family or friends and is alone on Thanksgiving (or other holiday), I will help him be less lonely on the holiday.’
If you are living in a foreign country, at least share the spirit of thankfulness. You never know who you can touch. This year, my co-workers and I are sharing our holiday with our church. We have made it a time of remembrance and thanksgiving for what the Lord has done this year.
Is this to say my brother and I are perfect and never get lonely on Thanksgiving or any other holiday? NO WAY! We are still people and people are people as the saying goes. We still feel the lack of our loved ones, but our focus is not on what we cannot have. Our focus is on what we can do for others. Having this view point takes courage and fortitude. It takes courage to turn your focus outward and fortitude to keep it outward.
So … what are you doing for Thanksgiving? What traditions are you starting? Where will your focus be during this holiday season? Remember God has placed you where you are for a specific purpose. There are people around you who need YOU! When you feel lonely or depressed at the lack of family, look around. With whom can you spend your holidays?