A Christmas Far Away from Family
Growing up, I looked forward to Christmas all year. I loved the food, I loved the decorations, I loved our small-town parade, I loved the anticipation of opening gifts, I loved the music—I could go on and on. And while I thoroughly enjoyed pretty much every aspect of the season, my all-time favorite was Christmas Eve night at my grandparents’ house. I was surrounded by family; my Dad’s six siblings, their families, my parents, grandparents and brothers. We shared a magnificent meal, gathered around the most beautifully decorated tree in town and opened gifts one by one. And then, with full tummies and warm hearts, we all moved into the living room where the best storytellers in the world would take turns commanding the room, performing out the different scenes and scenarios they had encountered over the past year, leaving us all doubled-over in laughter. We were connected, together and understood. For me, this was the most wonderful time of the year.
Today, my aunts and uncles have spread out across the United States. Not to mention, I’m now an adult with two little ones of my own living at least four hours from my closest relative. Needless to say, my Christmas Eve setting no longer includes the most beautifully decorated tree in town, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, nor my cousins. I have spent Christmas away from family these past few years, and my heart longs for each and every one of them.
Is your heart longing for family this season? Whether your son or daughter isn’t able to make it home this year, your current circumstances don’t allow you to travel, the weather messed up all your plans, or it’s your first Christmas away from family—let’s first remember that it’s okay to grieve. It’s perfectly healthy to let it all out with a good, ugly cry. And after we pull ourselves away from the pillow, dry our tears and recover from the ugliness, let’s look to Scripture to help us through the feelings of loneliness, because after all, Jesus came to Earth so that we would never be alone. Let us remember to lean on His truth for encouragement during this time:
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
We all know how hard it is to be grateful when things don’t go our way. But, we must remember that God calls us to give thanks for “all circumstances,” not just the good ones. So, think through the many ways God has blessed you over the past year and spend some quiet time with Him, praising Him for His goodness.
“You have changed my sadness into a joyful dance; you have taken away my sorrow and surrounded me with you.” Psalm 30:11 GNT
Boldly ask God to take away your sorrow. While it may seem unrealistic that your sorrows will instantly vanish, remember that we have a God of miracles. You may be surprised at how He uses this very moment in your life to fill your heart with His unfailing love and indescribable peace.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
Who knows? God may have other plans for you this year for a GOOD reason. Ever thought about offering the empty seat at your holiday dinner table to your elderly neighbor, or someone who may also be spending Christmas alone? What about taking on an extra shift for a working mother? Ask Him to shine His light through you on Christmas so that new hearts may be filled with His amazing joy.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 NIV
Allow yourself the time to get lost in the details of the true Christmas story. Put yourself in the shoes of Mary, Joseph, Simeon, the Shepherds, Anna and so on and so on. Think of what it must have felt like to be there on that glorious night, and feel the presence of the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Check out our “A Heart for Jesus” Advent Series to learn more about that beautiful night)
We all know it’s hard to spend Christmas away from home, without family and loved ones to celebrate with. Especially when every Christmas advertisement you see features a loving, happy family all together wearing matching pajamas with Santa hats and smiles all around. And, it definitely doesn’t make it any easier when you long for the days of old. It is our hope the above-mentioned Scriptures bring you comfort and show you how to cope with loneliness atChristmas.
Looking for a way to reach out to family and friends you may not being seeing this year? Send a loving message to those you miss with a free, shareable Christmas Ecard. And, feel free to share this article to encourage your friends and relatives who may be spending Christmas without family by clicking on the share icons.
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