Christmas – ‘Home Alone’? Or ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’?

Christmas can be a lonely time for a single person. Usually they are away from family or even have no family. So far this blog has been concentrating on ways to spend the holidays and tackle that loneliness issue. However, someone recently reminded me that sometimes after the hustle of the Christmas programs and special dinners, a day alone is a restful thing.

Photo Credit: jamescharlick via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: jamescharlick via Compfight cc

Another friend told me recently that one of the best Christmases she had was when everyone forgot to invite her to Christmas dinner and she spend Christmas night at the airport. She took her Bible and some gospel tracts and spent time with the people who had no choice about spending time away from family. She said that the time spent in prayer and Bible reading fed her soul and the people working at the airport appreciated the company. She was able to witness to a few of them. She turned what could have a time of pity me into a ‘best Christmas ever’ memory.

Sometimes being home alone on Christmas can be a good thing. It can allow us to reflect on what Christmas truly means. I think of how Jesus must have felt. He came to Earth to do His Father’s will, but He was the only one who understood His purpose. Even His own family rejected Him. His parents were upset when He was caught teaching in the Temple. His half-brothers and sisters rejected His divinity until after His death and resurrection. His disciples deserted Him when He needed friends the most. However, He continued with His mission, to save the souls of men. It must have been very lonely at times but when He had time to Himself, He always sought to spend that time with His Heavenly Father. We can learn from His example. You know that old saying, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’? Well, when life gives you alone times, seek to use it in a manner that would glorify God.

Alone time can also be a time of renewal and refreshing. Many times in the Bible,we are admonished to seek time alone with God. Many of the heroes of the Faith were refreshed and renewed by alone time with God. Sometimes God had to shake them out of a pity party (I’m looking at you Elijah and Jonah) but time alone with God was instructive and refreshing. It gave the prophet, teacher, king, priest, and even the Savior a renewed sense of purpose and commitment. Elijah picked himself up and continued with his work and even Jonah eventually saw what God was doing in his life.

As to the title of this post, the kid in ‘Home Alone’ eventually got his family back and the hero in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ learned that no man is an island, no matter how isolated they feel. And yes, I firmly believe in happy endings. Only our idea of a happy ending and God’s idea of a happy ending sometimes differ. We look for everything to turn up rosy and God looks for the best ending, which is not always rosy. IMG_0457

So whether you are having a Home Alone experience or are feeling isolated this Christmas, remember God is walking with you and you are never alone. Use this time to get to know your Heavenly Father better.

Sharing Traditions

This week my mother, Kathy, is my guest blogger. She is a missionary in Africa. As you will see, she taught me well.

As a single person you are out on your own. Working at a job. Doing things for yourself.  However, when the holidays come, what do you do? Well you could sit around and mope, get depressed and think of yourself only. On the other hand you could reach out and share your time with others.IMG_0391

Everyone has traditions they have grown up with. When and how to decorate the tree and house. Special cookies, cakes, or candies that are made or bought. There is no reason one could not continue these traditions. If you cannot be with your own family,  I am sure there are others in the same situation as yourself. Reach out and invite friends over to make those special baked goods. If you can’t cook, then invite them to help decorate your tree or home. Make a little festive party of it, put on Christmas music, get out the chips and dip, have fun. Get out of yourself and think of others at this time. Make some new traditions or celebrate with the old ones. You could always volunteer to help some couple by watching kids while they shop for gifts, or help out in a shelter or soup kitchen.

Reaching out is what Christ did for us. He reached all the way to earth from heaven to save and help us to the point of dying for our sins. He is the reason for the season. Make a new tradition of thinking of others at this holiday season. Let us forget self and reach out to those who have need of a friend.

“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”Philippians 2:4

In Celebrating, We Forget to Celebrate

My sister is once again a guest blogger.

The Christmas greetings were mailed the day after Thanksgiving. Cookies are baked with dough made a month ahead. Gifts for all the principal people in your life were purchased and wrapped by June, carefully tucked away, and you remember where they were hidden. You had the menu, guest list and decorations planned for all your Yuletide events almost as soon as the bells finished ringing in the New Year. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day you have little else to do but enjoy your family, share the Christmas cheer with your grumpy neighbor, and watch reruns of It’s a Wonderful Life. If you are human, your holiday season is nothing like this fairytale!


Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc

Christmas has become a contest. Not between you and your neighbor, but between you and the home magazines, the Pinterest boards, the party planner books, and even the holiday portraits of how we think Christmas should look. We attempt to satisfy our vision or perception of how Christmas should look, feel, taste, and smell like, but still feel empty and disappointed. We have fooled our senses into thinking that unless Christmas smells like peppermint, tastes like fudge, feels like fur, and looks like freshly fallen snow, Christmas never really came. Unfulfilled expectations cause depression and self-hate that spills over into our relationships with others.

We like to over complicate things. We make to-do lists and to-get lists and to-make lists, then we check them more than twice. We feel like we have to perform or die! We must have a party. We must have piles of treats for all those people who might drop in. We must have hot cocoa with tiny gingerbread houses perched on the lip of each mug above the sea of snowflake-shaped marshmallows. We must watch a “Christmas” movie every night in December. Then, we must not forget to buy trinkets for the baker, barber, banker, butler, butcher, dentist, doctor, dog trainer, financial adviser, fish monger, manicurist, mail carrier, museum curator, massage therapist, psychotherapist, physiotherapist, pet therapist and waste management personnel. See what I mean by overcomplicated?

IMG_0389Simplify and save yourself a great deal of disappointment and heartache. Why do we, as Christians, celebrate Christmas? Compared with the world, we have the Greatest Gift and Bringer of LASTING Joy to celebrate! Focus on the simple gift of life that God gave us in His Only-begotten Son, Jesus. Not only His Son, but also each breath we take is a gift from God. Make the few years we have here on earth matter and spend the time with those you love.

So turn your Pinterest brain off and find joy in the simple things this year, and celebrate the life God has given you!