With the holiday season in full swing, it can be very easy to look at other people’s lives and think – why am I not having that happiness that they seem to have?
Especially with social media everywhere, it is easy to fall into the trap of wondering – what am I doing wrong in my life that I am missing this out? What is it that they are doing right that I am not? There is the familiar cancer of comparison that peaks in the holiday season and sends us straight into a downward spiral of envy, jealousy, and sometimes even bitterness.
Feeling Lonely in the Holiday Season
At the root of all these is our desperate desire to connect and to just feel seen. To feel loved, and to have a taste of that happiness that everyone else seems to have. Holidays are a wonderful time to reconnect with family and friends that we have not seen for a long time and spread the joy with people we care about.
But what if even in the middle of a room full of people, chatting, eating and drinking…you still feel disconnected and empty inside? What if your holiday plans are packed to the brim with appointments and catch-ups and celebrations and a ton of parties, but deep down you still feel lonelier than ever before?
Friend, that loneliness is real and you do not have to hide it. You do not have to brush it aside and force yourself to face one more big gathering if you do not want to.
Season of Waiting
You may be in the season of waiting for a soulmate. The one who can complete your sentence and make you laugh like no one else can.
You may be in the season of waiting for your partner to propose and move on to the next stage of life together. Your dream wedding just a question away.
You may be in the season of waiting for a child to call your own. You see it happening so quickly to others and you wonder why your journey is taking so long. Will it ever happen?
You may be in the season of wanting your toddler to grow up so that you can enjoy more adult interactions without being so consumed with taking care of your growing child’s needs. Maybe then you can have meaningful conversations with others without getting interrupted a thousand times.
Whichever stage of life you are at, you may realize it by now, that the wondering, the waiting, the longing – it does not end.
It does not end when you finally meet the person of your dreams. It does not end when your partner finally pops the question. It does not end when the pregnancy test kit finally shows two lines. It does not end when we have our own wonderful children to celebrate the holidays with.
Although each of these things brings its own unique set of joys and laughter – if you are honest with yourself – you will notice that the longing doesn’t ever seem to end.
Only by the love of Jesus
The fact is that only the love of Jesus will fill the hole in our heart that keeps longing for a sense of completion. God must have designed it this way so that we would always have a desire for more of the things of God because we will soon realize that the things on this earth just cannot satisfy the deep longing in our hearts.
Only God’s transforming love can fill that aching loneliness – that desire for a sense of fulfillment and completion – in your heart.
So go on and make your holiday plans. 🙂 Arrange that Christmas Eve party and host the New Year’s countdown. Soak in all the holiday festivities in the way that you love to. But don’t expect all of these things to fill that hole for something more.
That something more is only found in Jesus, and when that hole is filled with His love, the holidays take on a dramatically different meaning. That feeling of loneliness may still linger for a while at times, but it will not leave you feeling resentful.
Instead, it will simply serve as a reminder to your soul that this earth is not our home. It is only a temporary place for which to serve our life’s purpose. Our eternal Home is with Jesus, and that ultimate destination should be our constant focus.
Connect and Encourage
So this holiday season, let us give the gift of connection and encouragement.
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (NIV)”
Let us reach out to the lonely and hurting, the privileged and disadvantaged. Let us reach out with honesty and vulnerability because we know that we are all in this together, and we are better together. Let us give the gift of a smile, a kind deed, or the closeness of a hug.
Let us choose to slow our pace and reach out to the neglected and the uninvited. Their hearts matter too. It is hard to make time in our fast-paced society but it is worth it. Give the gift of your presence. Find out the answer behind, “How are you doing?” and enjoy the contentment in life’s simplest things.
The truth is, we all need to know that we are loved.
We all need an extra dose of encouragement.
We all need the powerful, life-transforming touch of a Savior’s love.
Let us choose to let love shine through us this holiday season. Then maybe we will realize that loneliness is not something to be dreaded after all. It can be a gift that draws our hearts towards one another and towards our Heavenly Father.
Happy Holidays, dear ones. You are so cherished and so loved by the Lord Most High.