It is a great blessing to have had one lonely Christmas, but only one, for it offers us a taste, just a taste, of what it might be like when it’s imagined the whole world is rejoicing, families unified and together in the spirit of Christmas, but without us.
Jesus is the reason for the season, yet we’ll forget that in the mix of loneliness, from myriad angles of that painful concept. We’ll forget how lonely a life Jesus led.
I’ve had the one lonely Christmas thus far. It was the Australian summer of 2004 and the devil had isolated me from all kin and any fellow. I was desperate and alone which was strange, having had the previous Christmas, the first one as a single man after a marriage failure just months earlier. But this following year was far, far worse. I languished alone for most of it. I was no good company for anyone.
Desolating Shapes of Pain
Loneliness takes millions of shapes. It’s an inner reality that may not be shared or halved, unless it’s smothered in the love of the jigsaw fit. But loneliness is not kempt such like; if it was it could be resolved with a semblance of certainty. Instead it sticks like a dead rodent stench and the depressed languor paralyses.
How could it be that life seeks to accentuate and not attenuate this horrible experience at times of societal togetherness? It plays out as a sick joke.
Times when people are merrily enjoining their hearts are a putrid reminder to the lonely at Christmas time.
What Can Be Done?
Fast-forwarding memory of our days is not the answer; certain minutes ‘hurry’ like the laidback hour. Neither is the preponderance of polarising into a pitiful despair. Against the flow a purpose must be found—the reason to exist.
Is there another lonely person—even a stranger—who might be comforted by someone (you) who needs comfort themselves? Is there another one suffering a similar ignominy? Could they be responsible for lightening your spirit as you are for theirs?
There is so much suffering, rejection and loneliness in the world. To be one of them is a blessing, for it is empathy. But empathy in the alone state is useless. We must be with people if we can be; if that’s possible.
Above all, God hears the cries of our emptiness, and God wants us to know that we are his and that he is there (!) in the lowliness of our lows. What a friend we have in Jesus—the Son of God who listens to our mumbled and tear-driven laments.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.