Alone or Lonely At Christmas Time – Get in Touch with The Spirit and Reason For the Season
Commercialism abounds at this time of year. Not only are the television commercials attempting to sell you on all kinds of things but they along with print ads leave the impression that everyone is having some Merry Christmas. A Christmas that can only be "Merry" if you buy enough stuff for people, whether you like them or not, and whether you are in the company of people, again, whether you like them or not.
Some people, no doubt, will. But there are a tremendous amount of others who do not see themselves reflected back by the commercialized Christian Christmas Culture of our times. People who for whatever reason or mix of reasons are alone. You may be alone right now, or this year due to circumstances or you may be alone because you don’t have family or your family wouldn’t be an emotionally or physically safe place to be. So many people "go home" for the holidays only to end up fighting and/or being abused in the kind of toxic unhealthy and very painful family dynamics that are just so prevalent these days. For many it is better, even if lonely and/or sad to be alone than to continue to go through that tense and exhausting charade of "family Christmas".
There is no place that can ever be truly as much of a "going home" as the place where one communes with God, often alone, and from a place deep inside, just between a person and his or her God. To experience this "going home" one can be where ever they are and alone and still find the peace and blessings of this sacred holiday that is cheapened more and more each year by commercial culture.
So much attention is paid to and given to the whole idea of the, for the most part myth, of the depiction of 20th century American painter and illustrator Normal Rockwell’s Christmas. Christmas is not such a positive time for so many in our world. Society needs to pay more than lip-service to this reality – a very painful reality.
Oh and the Christmas carols. The music of the everybody’s-happy-right myth. They can be so painful for those who are alone.
If you are alone generally, and/or specifically at Christmas time, for whatever reason or reasons, it is so important that you realize you are not alone in being alone. Millions of people are alone.
Wouldn’t it be something though, something, I don’t know, validating, if there were commercials about products that even one person alone needs to buy that validated a sense of it being okay to be alone? Many who are alone at Christmas time feel even more alienated by all the wondrous and really, for many, unachievable joy, that is touted as the only way – the right way – to be at Christmas time.
Oh, in the movies we do see people who are alone, or "down on their luck" who do not reflect the reality of many who, in real life are alone, or who may have even chosen to be alone at Christmas. That’s another disservice that only fuels the stereotype that to be alone at Christmas time must mean one is an outcast, or homeless, or needy in some way. This is so patronizing.
Is the big push behind what you are supposed to do at Christmas, or what is seen and defined by culture as "normal" at Christmas time really all that Christian? Is it reflective of the spirit of and reason for the season? I think not. I think it is much more reflective of the commercialized-culture of advertisers everywhere who really just want our money. They won’t even stop at shaming us into buying, buying, buying, lest we be defined by not "belonging" or not partaking in this mad commercialized rush to win friends and influence people with the best and/or most expensive gifts.
If you are Christian and alone at Christmas time let your holiday reflect more of its true meaning. Let it be about you and your God. Let it be about the birth of Jesus Christ. Let it not matter what the commercialized masses are doing. There is a lot to be said for simplifying the whole Christmas experience and taking it back to its spiritual meaning. Even those who are alone can pray and be close to God and be thankful. Be grateful for what you do have this Christmas as you surrender to whatever it is that you do not have. Be grateful even if you are depressed, sad, or grieving. It is okay to turn to God in the thanks for Jesus Christ and it is especially a powerful choice to make when perhaps other things in your life aren’t as you wish they could be or had hoped they’d be. Remember there’s always hope for change and hope for healing.
Radically accept and surrender to being alone if that’s where you are and know that in God’s eyes you are not diminished whatsoever. That’s what needs to matter most.
If you are alone at Christmas time refuse to be defined or depressed by what you see reflected back to you by this commercialized culture. Validate yourself. Validate your choices. Accept where you are, even if it is a painful place to be. You are okay. It is okay to be alone at Christmas time.
Millions of people will be alone together at Christmas and they will remain invisible and stereotyped by media, movies, and advertisers.
Millions of people who are alone at Christmas time are just as worthy as those who share the company of others. And the millions of people who will be alone at Christmas time are truly connected. If you allow yourself to feel that universal connection to humankind, it can mean feeling less alone. It can be empowering.
Each one of us will benefit from getting back to the grass-roots of what Christmas is really all about. Those who are alone have the best opportunity to be more in tune with that spiritual soulful blessing because they are less caught up in all the commercial, cultural, and societal trappings that really just keep people from being as close to the spiritual aspect and reality of what Christmas "should" really be much more about.
© A.J. Mahari
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