That lonely Christmas time longing...

I’ve been feeling a bit lonely the last few days. And as I started thinking about it I realized that it’s not all that unusual. In fact most years I’ve had a bit of a lonely feeling around Christmas time…

It’s funny because really of all the times and seasons during the year Christmas is probably when people are the most connected – you spend a lot of time with friends and family at Christmas – there’s some sort of party or celebration or something pretty much every weekend. You get gifts for people and receive gifts from people as a way to show that you love and care for each other. There’s hugs and visits with those closest to you. You reconnect with old friends and far off family. It’s a time for sharing and laughing and being together. It’s a connected time. But, somehow even though it feels like the most connected time of year it also feels like the most disconnected…the loneliest. There’s something about all those connections that just don’t go deep enough or far enough…it still feels like something’s missing…

Maybe it’s not so much loneliness that I feel at Christmas, maybe it’s more a feeling of longling… all the joy and beauty of the season makes me long for something more… “And because it was so beautiful, it set me longing, always longing. Somewhere else there must be more of it.” (C.S. Lewis) I feel the joy and connectedness of Christmas and it makes me long for that joy and connectedness which I have never yet experienced and will never experience until that day when God makes all things whole and complete.

As I was feeling this loneliness and thinking these things I stumbled upon this quote…

“I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent.” (Taylor Caldwell)

I am never alone. We are never alone. That is indeed the message of Christmas. We are not of those who believe that God is far off and uninvolved – we believe that God came down to be among us, to be one of us. We believe in God Immanuel, God with us. We are never alone. And even though sometimes in this dark and cold time of year we may feel alone and lonely, the truth is we are never alone. God has come and is coming. And we can know with hope that those moments of longing – those moments when this world is dark and we sense that we were made for something different than this - or those moments when the world is bright and beautiful and love is strong and we long and sense that we were made for more moments like that – that we were made for timeless moments of connected joy – we can trust amid our longing that God has come and God is coming. There will come a day when our longings are filled and we are at last home.

“We may however say to ourselves – one day these souls of ours will blossom into the full sunshine – when all that is desirable in the commonness of daily love, and all we long for of wonder and mystery and the look of Christmas time will be joined in one, and we shall walk as in a wondrous dream yet with more sense of reality than our most waking joy now gives us.” – George MacDonald

Rejoicing in the journey -

Beth Stedman