Avoiding loneliness at Christmas
Seems like everybody else is having fun
I wonder if I’m the only one
Who’s broken heart still has broken parts
Just wrapped in pretty paper
… Oh, but Christmas, it always makes me cry
Christmas Makes Me Cry – Kacey Musgraves
Christmas is said to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for some people, it is a painful reminder of all that they have lost, or what’s missing from their lives.
While a lot of fanfare is made about the season, with families making much of each other, there are others who just sit on the sideline feeling miserable and rejected, while praying for the season to pass quickly.
Valrie Campbell James, pastor of the Savanna Cross Church of God of Prophecy, in addressing this issue, told Family and Religion that that is why it is so important for persons to reach out to others and try to embrace them in the family circle.
“Lonliness is real. For the shut-ins, seniors and widows who have no one coming around, it can be really hard. Unfortunately, so many are caught up in their own affairs that they don’t take the time to think of others,” she said.
James pointed out that for some persons, Christmas is a stark reminder of loved ones they have lost during the season, while for others it will be time when their loneliness will be even more pronounced.
Getting through the festive season with those baggages, she said, will not be easy, but there are ways they can deal with it.
It has been said that misery loves company, and for James, to escape being alone and feeling sorry for yourself, an effort should be made to socialise with others.
“Even if you don’t feel like it, make the effort and go to church, go to the park, there are so many with Christmas trees up and lots of festivities going on,” she said, adding that by the time they get home, they should feel a little lighter.
For the shut-ins and seniors who can’t be up and about as they would want do, James is imploring youth clubs and church groups to visit and maybe sing some carols, just spend some time with them, she said, adding that it will make a world of difference in their lives.
Dwell on happy thoughts
For those who can’t equate the season without remembering the death of their loved ones or some sad memories, James said there is no easy way around that. However, she said instead of thinking about the loss, they should try to dwell on happy thoughts. Maybe reflect on some fun things they used to do during the season.
“Trying to steer your thoughts away from sadness is not easy and it will take a lot of self-control. However, the alternative is to dwell on it and sink into depression,” she said. James also shared that it would be a good time also to reach out to other relatives who may be going through the same period of sadness and loss, to share fun memories and take the focus off the pain.
For James, another way for those who are feeling depressed at this time of the year is to volunteer. According to her, making a difference in someone else’s life will take the focus off their own situation.
She said there is no getting around the fact that Christmas will mean different things to different people and not all will be in the mood to celebrate, the season. However, she said keeping the focus on what the season is really all about – the birth of Christ, the beginning of the salvation plan – will also be a reminder to those who are hurting that there is a God who cares and who can give them the comfort and peace they are so desperately seeking.