December dawns, and with it… preparations for Christmas begin to consume our thoughts.
Christmas, a time to spend time with family and friends; but some people will be spending the holidays alone. Will you be alone this Christmas? Let’s come up with some strategies for coping with being alone at Christmas.
First of all, it is important to establish why you will be alone this Christmas. And then we will devise some coping strategies for each particular situation
For younger people, perhaps you or your spouse is in the military and not able to come home for Christmas.
Coping strategies for the deployed soldier:
Thank goodness for churches and other organizations who compile “care packages” for those who are deployed during Christmas. It is like a taste of home in a box. We need to appreciate our soldiers who put themselves in harms way to protect our freedom.
Modern day deployed soldiers can make use of the internet to talk to, and see their family by way of Skype, Face Time, or What’s App. It’s not the same; but it may help some.
Turning to fellow soldiers for companionship may ease loneliness. Attend or organize a Christmas party. Sing some carols, maybe exchange small gifts, and remember the real “reason for the season”.
Coping strategies for the spouse left at home:
Be sure to surround yourself with family and friends. Taking part in church activities can be rewarding and satisfying.
If you have some extra time, you could help your children make Christmas cards or small gifts and take them to lonely nursing home residents.
Get with friends and relatives to trade babysitting, so you can go shopping. Don’t neglect yourself. Remind yourself that your separation is only temporary.
Find time to be alone with God.
Some people may be separated, going through a divorce or have recently lost a loved one this Christmas. If this is the case, you may not feel like getting involved in the festivities of Christmas; but isolating yourself will just make you more lonely.
Coping strategies for people who are separated or divorced this Christmas:
It can be difficult, if you have always celebrated the holidays as a couple or a family, to cope with the changes during separation and divorce. Sometimes children must be split between two families for Christmas.
Arrangements may be difficult to make; but try not to make the situation worse by fretting and complaining. Emotions are sometimes raw between separated or divorced couples; but every effort should be made to be as amicable as possible.
No one will have a nice Christmas if one or both parties insists on always having their way; or tries to use the children as a means to hurt or “pay back” the other party.
Sometimes doing something for someone else can ease our own loneliness. Reach out to someone in need and help in any way you can.
If finances are tight, encourage your children to make gifts for others, and tell them you will be making some of their gifts. Look up different crafts on the internet or in magazines or books. Make it fun. But you can also take advantage of community services that give free gifts to children.
Become creative to spend less money and still give. Give a friend or relative a coupon for free babysitting or housecleaning. Check out Facebook and other places for gently used articles for much cheaper than new, or maybe even free!
Perhaps you have outlived many of your friends and relatives. Are you now confined to a nursing home or in your own home with assistance?
Coping strategies for lonely elderly:
Grandchildren can be the bright highlight of our twilight years. If you have grandchildren, get in touch with them during the holidays.
If you live in your own home and are physically able, offer to babysit while the parents shop. It may be a little hectic at times; but also very rewarding. Caring for others is often a cure for our own loneliness.
If you don’t have somewhere to go on Christmas and you are able bodied, take advantage of a community Christmas dinner, and make some new friends there.
Look around and try to fill the needs of others this Christmas. You will find that you will be so concerned with others that you forget your loneliness.
If you aren’t physically able to go out, you can still encourage others with phone calls, cards and letters. Let someone know that you are praying for them. Even people who aren’t alone on Christmas need encouragement and prayers.
Perhaps you are estranged from your family this Christmas. Maybe this would be a good time to reach out to try to make peace with them. Pray for forgiveness and to be able to forgive.
You may be able to find a family atmosphere in church. Or perhaps friends who live nearby would invite you to share in their festivities. It doesn’t hurt to let people know you will be alone. How can they be of help if they don’t know?
Don’t be afraid to learn a little about computers and build a cyber family, or keep in touch with friends online. If one can’t get out to visit; visiting online is the next best thing. We are never to old to learn.
To sum it up. You may be alone this Christmas; but there are many coping strategies for dealing with loneliness. Here are just a few:
1. Reach out to help other people.
2. Don’t make the mistake of isolating yourself.
3. Beware of self pity and other destructive emotions.
4. Take advantage of community programs.
5. Give of yourself to others as you are able.
6. Encourage others through phone calls, cards, letters and prayers.
7. Be part of a church if you are able.
8. Take advantage of the joy of grandchildren and great grandchildren.
9. Be a peacemaker as much as you are able this Christmas.
10. REMEMBER what Christmas is really all about.
December 25th is the day we chose to celebrate
the birth of Jesus Christ.
Christmas is about love.
Our God loved us so much that He sent His only son to be born of a Virgin. He was 100% God and 100% man. He set aside His deity to come to earth to live as man and to die as an eternal sacrifice to save us from our sins and give us the gift of eternal life. Now that’s love!
The sinless perfect “Lamb of God” took our sins upon himself and suffered and died in our place. He paid the penalty for our sins by giving his own life, and shedding his own blood to cover our sins. He is the sacrifice to end all sacrifices. The son of God; whose love knows no limits.
Christmas isn’t about our loneliness, or our happiness. It’s about love. A love that transcends all earthly emotions. The love of a Heavenly Father for His children. A sacrificial love that took our punishment, to give us a gift that couldn’t be earned. The potential gift of eternal life.
Christmas is about love.
Christmas isn’t about giving and getting presents. (though we have made it that).
It’s not about all the decorations and Christmas lights. (beautiful as they are).
Christmas is not about spending time with friends and family and enjoying a good meal. (but we do enjoy that).
It’s not about Santa, flying reindeer and a sleigh full of toys for all the good little girls and boys.
Christmas isn’t about baking cookies to give to friends and family.
It’s not even a time to give to charities and people in need. (Although it is good to do this).
Christmas is about God’s love for us.
Will you join me in praying for all those who are alone or lonely this Christmas? And for all those military families who will be separated this holiday season. May we all reach out in love to those who are less fortunate than us, and always remember the real “reason for the season”.
Thank you for reading. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!
At your service,