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20141219-alone-at-Christmas

There are many people who are alone at Christmas.  Whether those we love and care about are absent because of death, distance, health or relational problems, being alone is not uncommon at Christmas or throughout the year.  But at Christmas being alone can produce greater feelings of loneliness and sadness.

All the festivities of friends and family gathering to celebrate Jesus’ birth and to exchange presents, can be a painful reminder of that which is missing.  While it is natural to experience sadness and loneliness, the Bible tells us those feelings can be overcome.  The psalmist asked, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?”  (Psalm 43:5a).  

The psalmist asked the question, “why” is my soul downcast, but notice the answer is not given.  We can easily point to reasons for sadness and loneliness, but instead the psalmist gives the solution to uplift a downcast soul:

“…Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.” (Psalm 43:5b)

Jesus is the “help of [our] countenance.”   Countenance refers to a person’s face or facial expression, which reflects the state of one’s soul.  Is you countenance reflecting a dispirited heart and a downcast soul?  

  At Christmas, and any time of year, the remedy for a downcast soul is to remember the great gift of Jesus’ presence in our lives.  As Christians, we know that we are never truly alone.  When we feel alone or lonely, we must remember that Jesus is always with us. When we turn our thoughts to the One who is always present, we will find peace.  We can be certain of this by the promise Jesus has give us that He will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5); and we can be comforted by His assurance that He is with us always (Matthew 28:20).

If feelings of loneliness are diminishing your joy this Christmas, let Jesus’ light shine brightly in the dark shadows.  Re-center your focus on what you have been given, not on what you are missing.    Find your satisfaction in His unending, unbounded love.  Let Jesus’ love direct your thoughts and you will find your joy and rest in Him.  Try not to focus on being alone, or on those who are absent, but rather redirect your thoughts to the One who is with you now and will be always.

Look up and then out…not in.

Look upward, then outward…not inward.  An inward focus will always produce feelings of being alone.  You can’t truly see Jesus if you’re focused on yourself.  Turn your eyes upon Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).  Look first to Him.  Jesus gave us the great commandment, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)   That’s a surrender-of-self that will direct our focus to Jesus and it’s a death-to-self that invigorates His life in us.  When we find our rest in the Lord’s sufficient grace (2 Corinthians 12:9) it strengthens our vertical relationship and unleashes the power of the Holy Spirit to flow through us and fuel us to “love our neighbor” (Matthew 22:39) in all of our horizontal relationships. 

Love Your Neighbor

Perhaps you are not alone, and your Christmas is filled with family and friends; your joy is abundant and you know it is of the Lord.  Take time to look around and extend your joy to someone in need.  Perhaps there’s an elderly neighbor who’s alone, or a distressed friend who’s in need, or a troubled teen who feels sad.  Be the hands, feet and words of Jesus by reaching out and sharing His love and the joy of your salvation with others.  Help others to see His light:

John 8:12  Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Help others to see with the eyes of their understanding and to receive and embrace the “exceeding riches of His grace.”

Ephesians 1:18-19, 2:4-7  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power….God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Let us all remember, each and every day, the amazing gift of sufficient grace (2 Corinthians 12:9) that lights the darkness and warms the soul.  

Let us all be an encouragement to others (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) by sharing the great gift of Jesus at Christmas and throughout the year.

Let us all keep looking up for our Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13)

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus is a beautiful song.  It calls to mind and reminds us that our hope comes from Jesus and our rest is found in Him. Take a minute and reflect on the lyrics:

O soul, are you weary and troubled?

No light in the darkness you see?

There’s a light for a look at the Savior,

And life more abundant and free!

 

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.

 

Through death into life everlasting

He passed, and we follow Him there;

Over us sin no more hath dominion—

For more than conquerors we are!

 

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.

 

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;

Believe Him, and all will be well:

Then go to a world that is dying,

His perfect salvation to tell!

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus 

Words & Music: Helen H. Lemmel, 1922

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The Season of Advent (the 4 weeks before Christmas)

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