Lonely This Christmas?

This is the final part in my mini series “We Need A Little Christmas,” focusing on the hope the coming of Jesus has to offer specifically for 2020. I’d always planned to cover this topic today, but developments over the last couple of days have made it more appropriate than ever.

I think one of the cruelest things about the pandemic has been the need to so drastically reduce our contact with others. While it has been necessary, there is nothing social about distancing, and I know it has been particularly hard for people who have been unable to see their loved ones in hospitals or care homes, sometimes for weeks at a time.

Personally, as someone who lives alone, I have spent way more time on my own this year than I would ever have chosen. One of the most vivid memories I have of the early days of the pandemic is the feeling of being completely alone. I was always in regular contact with friends and family through Zoom, phone calls and social media, so I was never isolated, but physically I was basically alone for over two months. I remember the fear of becoming ill and being by myself, and the realisation that it was actually illegal for me to meet with another human being.

When the lockdown was initially announced, we expected that it might last two months. That seemed like an eternity, and I wondered how I’d cope. All I can say is, God is good. Nine months later, with only short periods of respite from the severity of the restrictions, I’m still standing, still persevering, still hoping. As I reflected at the time, my experience of knowing God’s presence in times when I had been alone in the past helped to prepare me to deal with the lockdown. I knew he had helped me before, and this gave me faith that he would help me again.

For the last couple of months, Christmas has been the light on the horizon for so many. We endured weeks of tighter restrictions for the promise of a few days’ respite. All we wanted was the chance to meet with loved ones again. This beautiful song written by two Scottish teachers sums it up perfectly.

But 2020 hadn’t finished with us, and it dealt another vicious blow this week. The discovery of a new strain of the virus, potentially up to 70% more infectious than the original, has led to tightened restrictions across the UK, and, for many, Christmas plans have had to be cancelled.

It saddens me to think of the loneliness and isolation so many will experience this Christmas. I’m fortunate that I will get to see my family on Christmas Day. It’s one day only, instead of the five we were promised, but it’s something. Many in the south of England are banned from mixing with other households at all and no-one is allowed to travel unless they can make it there and back in one day. Christmas is a hard time for many people anyway, but this Christmas is going to be tough for so many more.

But all of it points us to the fact that we need a little Christmas more than ever this year.  Actually, we need a lot of Christmas!  I’m not talking about the celebrations or family gatherings, but about the coming of Jesus.

One of my favourite descriptions of Jesus is Emmanuel: God with us.

If you stop to think about that it’s mind-blowing. God himself, the creator of the universe, entered into the world he created, as a tiny baby. He didn’t distance himself from us, but he drew close in the most wonderful way.

It gives us hope because it shows how much he cares, but also because Jesus experienced all that it is to be human – the joy and sorrow, the laughter and tears. He experienced loneliness, pain and suffering, which means he understands.

And the reason he came was to deal with the brokenness of the world, and the sin which caused such a deep separation between us and God.  In his death and resurrection, he made a way for us to be with God forever – to know his Holy Spirit living in us and working in us now, as well as having the promise of eternal life where tears, sadness and suffering will be no more.

Even if you are physically alone this Christmas, you don’t have to be truly alone because Jesus came to be with us. He sees your situation, he knows your pain, and he longs to draw close to you to bring you hope and light.

So talk to him – tell him how you feel, be honest, ask for help. Seek the hope that is only found in him. He may not change your circumstances, but he is there, and he promises never to leave you nor forsake you.

This will be my final post before Christmas, so I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone who is reading a happy Christmas. Whether you’re celebrating with family or you’re on your own, I pray that you find peace, joy and hope in Jesus, and that you know God with you.

Sometimes, despite knowing God is with us, we just need another human being. Please do reach out and ask for help if you’re struggling this Christmas. You could speak to a trusted friend or family member. Alternatively, in the UK, you can contact the Samaritans on 116 223 or, in the US, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255.  Both these services provide free, confidential help 24/7. (These are the main two countries my blog readers are from.  I can’t list them for every country, but I know there are similar services available in many other places.)


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26 thoughts on “Lonely This Christmas?

  1. Your post absolutely touches on so many areas of this pandemic. I’ve only been married for 5 years, so I lived alone most of my life and loved it. But I cannot help wonder how this pandemic would have been for me, if I was single. Because on thing I discovered this year is that while consider myself an introvert, I sure missed interacting with people a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m an introvert too, and I do enjoy time alone, but I didn’t realise just how much I valued interacting with other people until it was limited so much.

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  2. Thank you so much for this heart-warming, hope-filled message, Lesley. It’s such a comfort to know God never distances Himself from us. It’s incomprehensible that He loves us so much that He brought Himself so low to be with us in His birth. And He will never, ever abandon us. Even though the world around us is changing drastically, His love and His goodness will never change. Love and blessings of a hope-filled and peace-filled Christmas to you and your family!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Trudy! It is wonderful to know that God is always there and that he never changes whatever is happening around us. I hope you and you family have a lovely Christmas too and know God’s joy and peace.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So glad you will get to see your family for Christmas Day. I have been reading about the new strain of the virus with trepidation. Emmanuel, God with us, is one of my favorite descriptions of Jesus too. May God be with you in the coming weeks, Lesley.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Laurie! Yes, it all sounds pretty scary right now, but it helps a lot to know that God is with us. I hope you and your family have a lovely Christmas!

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  4. Dear Friend – I’m praying without ceasing for you and yours. This is a such a hard trial and I am so saddened to hear what is happening in my family’s native land. May you find Jesus’ companionship to be calming and comforting. May He whisper peace in ways that you can’t imagine.

    Sending my love your way, sweet Lesley …

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  5. So thankful for those “one day” events, even if they’re not what we wanted. We celebrated Christmas with our family last Saturday in a whirlwind day. It was great fun, but when it was over, I knew that would be it for the year. I know these days are temporary, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t difficult. Praying you enjoy the day you get with family, Lesley, and that the new strain of the virus won’t continue adding more trouble in the weeks to come.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! I’m glad you enjoyed time with your family, but I know it is hard when it’s not as long as you would like it to be. Hope you have a lovely Christmas!

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  6. Lesley, you and I have written on a similar topic this week…I live in the south of England and the tighter restrictions have definitely been a blow. We suddenly now have to stay at home even on Christmas Day instead of time with family but thank God for Hope. ‘He sees our situation, he knows our pain, and he longs to draw close to us to bring you hope and light’. Amen

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    1. I’m so sorry you’ve had to change your Christmas plans, Wemi. We will be under similar restrictions here (Scotland) from Boxing Day but a least there is a little bit of flexibility with Christmas Day. It is so comforting to know God with us and that he is our hope. Praying that you know joy and peace in him as you celebrate Jesus.

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  7. Lesley, a beautiful post, and so touching as you shared your heart. We will only get to see one of our children and little granddaughter on Christmas day, so different than we hoped. BUT as you so hopefully reminded us, God is with us; thank you Father God for Emmanuel. May the warmth of God’s presence speak peace to your heart this Christmas! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lesley, you captured many of the emotions most of us are feeling right now. And I like how you said there’s nothing social about distancing. So true! I’m just thankful that while we distance ourselves from others, it’s the perfect time to keep Jesus near! Merry Christmas!

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  9. Lesley, I’m sorry about the increased restrictions, and so last minute too. I’m praying for you and glad you will be able to see family at least for one day. May that day be safe, peaceful, and precious! Thanks for the encouragement in this post as always- God with us. We can talk to Him about anything, anytime. Merry Christmas, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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