|Article from Christian Today:
The loneliest time of the year
by Chris Duffett
“It’s the Christmas season, the time of year that makes everyone feel warm and happy … and I couldn’t be more sad. I can’t enjoy the snow falling or the tree with all the lights. I just feel so empty inside. My life has no meaning. I can’t find joy in simple things anymore. I want to feel like giving and sharing and making someone smile, but there’s no one to share with. I’m all alone at Christmas.”
This quote is from a website where people write in and share their experiences, good and bad. For many, Christmas is by far the worst time of the year. It’s the time people feel most isolated, and surprise surprise, it is on Christmas day that the Samaritans receive a rise in calls.
Last Sunday morning I was busy giving out free mince pies and offering free last minute Christmas card making outside Asda supermarket. It was one of their busiest times of the year as people scurried around getting the last of the turkey and all the trimmings.
One man was attracted to the tray of mince pies and asked if he could have two. A little while after, he asked me what the time was and later on he wanted to know whether I owned a dog. He just wanted to spend time with us and hang out as we gave out free gifts and spoke of the greatest gift of all.
I couldn’t help wondering whether this man would be alone this Christmas day; and how many people like him are ‘out there’ and while not literally homeless, still lack a sense of community and home? Having grown up in a vicarage my mum and dad used to invite those who didn’t have family to enjoy the raucous Duffett celebrations. It seemed fitting to lay an extra few places around our table to celebrate the birth of the one who seemed to have a preference for those on the margins.
How will you celebrate Christmas this year? Are there people who you know in your community who will be alone? My wife and I asked our children how they would feel about inviting some people over to share in our Christmas day. They loved the idea and my ten year old summed it up amazingly when he simply said, ‘We are Christians, our home should always be open.’ How about inviting someone over for birthday celebrations of the baby whose Father declares ‘I set the lonely in families, I lead out the prisoners with singing…’ Psalm 68.6
Chris Duffett is President elect of the Baptist Union in Great Britain and national evangelist with The Light Project, a group of people who aim to actively demonstrate the Christian message and train others to do the same.