“God places the lonely in families . . .” Psalm 68:6a
Last December Neal and I went to New York City. We spent a week enjoying the city in her Christmas finery. If you want to see the world in one place, visit NYC. As I walked down the street I heard people conversing in French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, several Indian dialects, Hungarian, and many other languages I do not recognize. And instead of the usual preoccupied rush down crowded sidewalks, people walked along the streets wearing their holiday faces—making eye contact and smiling— while carrying bright packages.
All seemed well.
However, as some of you know, this can also be the loneliest time of the year, especially for those of us who have lost someone we love through death or divorce. Maybe strained family matters separate us and this season magnifies that loss. If you know someone who is alone this Christmas and there is room at your table, why not invite that person to join your family? He or she may decline, but the invitation sends the message that this person is important and not forgotten. If you are the lonely one, maybe you can contact another person who is alone this season you and go out together.
I thought of another emotion of the season when I read a quote by Carol Nelson, “Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home.”
I get that.
Looking back when my children were small I remember all our fun traditions. We baked sugar cookies and ate most of them before they cooled enough to decorate. I’d make fudge and the kids crowded around me with spoons to “clean the pan.” We always had a tree decorating party. While we hung ornaments — the majority of them winding up on the bottom half of the tree — we ate chips and dip, candy, cakes, egg rolls, sausage balls and drank eggnog. When the children went to bed, Neal and I enjoyed a glass of wine together and moved some of the ornaments to the top of the tree! And then there was the many evenings spent drinking hot chocolate and watching holiday movies.
How I miss those bygone days. I could really get lonely for my little babies and our sweet times together. However, life goes on and I must move with it. I must realize the importance of making new memories with my children, children-in-love, and grandbabies.
I’m not the only one who could let nostalgia run my present. My kids miss their childhood, but they realize the importance of creating holiday magic for their own children and family.
Nonetheless, there are those who cannot reconcile the joys of their past with their present. They are sad because things had to change and their regrets to rob them of opportunities to make new memories, my grandmother being one of them. How I wanted her to realize the capacity in her heart to expand with love, and not let it shrink with regret.
This is my Christmas wish for you, that you’d make this Christmas special for yourself and for others. Open your home and your heart. Let the 2011 holiday spirit of hospitality, warmth, laughter, and kindness offer hope. Dwell on the positive aspects of life and let this begin healing in your soul as well as in the souls of others.
I think Dr. Suess says it best, “Christmas will always be as long as we stand heart to heart and hand in hand”
May this Christmas be a new beginning of hope in your life.