At this time during the holidays, we are surrounded by images of connection: sharing holiday cheer with friends, family get-togethers, and experiencing the joy of finding the absolute perfect gift for a very special someone in your life.
You may feel super-blessed and completely involved and loved during this time. Or you may be experiencing winter or holiday blues, and a sense of great loneliness.
Maybe your children are with your ex. Or you can’t be with the ones you love. Or distance, work, and money obligations feel like a barrier.
Mom making varieties of holiday treats! (1994)
Sometimes during the holidays it’s hard not to miss “the way things used to be.”
I remember how my Mom always made Christmas special. We had a manger scene that reached from the floor to the ceiling. The smell of fresh-baked treats filled the house; there were Christmas cookies baking, and chocolate log cakes to give to friends, doctors, and teachers.
My Mom passed away 18 years ago and I still miss her so much, especially at this time of year. I’m sure, if you’ve lost a loved one with whom you shared special holiday traditions, it’s bitter-sweet for you too.
Some years, when my children are with my ex-husband for Christmas, I feel sad, and I am drawn in, temporarily, to the loneliness of thoughts like:
“I can’t make my home like my mom did”
“Christmas isn’t the same without my children here”
“The house will be empty”
“I miss those I love that can’t be here”
While all of these statements are true, I can also choose to create a new Christmas experience that gives a different kind of meaning and still resides in the spirit of Christmas. Rather than be sad, I get to choose what I want to focus on.
And I can feel “at home”, no matter my circumstances because home is wherever I feel like I belong. I can create “home” for myself while also creating “home” for others.
Most importantly, I know I’m never really alone. I have great faith in that statement.
Giving another level of meaning that resides in the spirit of Christmas helps me think beautiful thoughts and ideas such as:
- I can plan a virtual Christmas dinner with some special friends who are also alone
- I can volunteer at the local soup kitchen
- I can provide gifts to the women’s shelter
I can do all of these things.
I also will honor the memory of those I love. At Christ Church on St. Simons Island there’s a statue in honor of my son which says “Jesus loves me,” a quote from our favorite song and a reminder that we’re never really alone. I go to that statue often, especially at this time of year.
New traditions are started every day.
And if YOU know someone who is lonely, or who may be in a place of sadness (perhaps having lost a family member or job, etc.), please pause for a moment and think about what YOU might do to help them, to share in the spirit of the holidays. You can:
- Join them for a virtual meal
- Bring them a holiday treat, perhaps even anonymously…just so they know someone cares.
- Send them a holiday card and perhaps share your favorite uplifting verse
I guarantee YOU will gain a benefit far greater than the recipient of your action.
Giving to others is a great way to build oxytocin… giving a helping hand, an invitation, hope, a smile, financial support, forgiveness and cheer are some of my favorite ways. And you may bring a level of peace to someone who very much needs it during this holiday time.
Instead of feeling lonely and alone, it’s possible to choose to feel like you are at home, no matter
What will you be doing this Christmas? (I’d love to hear from you!)
Sending you lots of love, and warm holiday wishes,