“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” Ps 34:18 NIV
When you find yourself alone at Christmas, the sights and sounds that once brought joy can reinforce your sense of sadness and loss. There is no magic, get-well-quick formula; processing what you’ve lost takes time, and God’s sustaining grace. But here are some insights to help you: (1) Don’t assume. Don’t think that everybody else is having a perfect Christmas while you struggle. The truth is, we all experience the unrealistic demands of shopping, entertaining and gift-giving. And it’s worse in times of heartache. That’s why we’re so relieved when it’s over. (2) It’s just one day out of 365. You can handle it for twenty-four hours because God has promised to give you “strength…equal [to] your days” (Dt 33:25 NIV). (3) Take the focus off yourself. Reach out. See if there’s a needy family or a hurting acquaintance who’d enjoy spending an hour with you. It’ll probably be the last thing you feel like doing, but it is therapeutic, restores your perspective and brings a sense of well-being and gratitude. (4) Start some new traditions, especially when old ones just make you feel worse. “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Php 3:13 NKJV). If you’re feeling lonely, here’s a prayer you can pray: “Lord, you know my heart aches today. Your Word says You are close to the brokenhearted, so let me feel Your nearness. Become more real to me than the activity without and the emptiness within. Draw me close to You, and in so doing, make this Christmas like none I’ve ever known.”
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