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The holidays at the end of the year tend to be polarizing. You could find yourself at the North Pole, visiting Santa. Or, you could find yourself at the South pole, all alone.
If life has gone well for you throughout the year, then Christmas is the ultimate celebration with friends or family (or both!). It’s like having your favorite dessert with your favorite topping. It’s not essential, but it sure tastes good.
If life hasn’t been going well, December might be cause to emphasize how terribly lonely you feel. That could be like your car breaks down, and you have no place to go for Christmas. You might wonder, What else is going to go wrong?
Life can be cruel sometimes. You can make the extra effort to be nice or work hard to complete a project at work, but the reward doesn’t come. Maybe even just the opposite happens: you are rejected and betrayed by an important person in your life or you lose your job (or both!).
What next? Is there hope for you? Has God abandoned you? It probably feels like He has.
God is Aware of Life’s Ups and Downs
God is aware of all the times when life disappoints. He’s wired into our hearts such a desire for good things. So, of course, He expects you to feel disappointed when your expectations aren’t met. This doesn’t mean you should throw out your expectations.
Your desire for life to go smoothly and to be able to enjoy your days is essential.
Your ability to hold onto hope when life doesn’t go smoothly is equally essential.Somehow God wants you to aim for the highest and best possible outcomes, accept all (short-term) setbacks, and continue in faith and hope. Click To Tweet
Giving up on God is the ultimate expression of hopelessness. Loneliness, boredom, and hopelessness are really just natural consequences of not seeing God’s reality. You’ve lost everything if you’ve lost sight of God’s reality.
God Hasn’t Forgotten You
God still loves you. His love hasn’t changed. You can rest in this fact. Isn’t that what we most want to know during difficult times? You’re not experiencing catastrophic news meant to permanently shut the way to all hope. God is still with you amidst the chaos.
Your chance is coming. How do I know this? God is good. To want to not be lonely is a good thing. It’s hard to feel hopeless and not also feel lonely. It’s equally hard to feel lonely and also not feel hopeless. But if this is true, then the opposite is equally true: if you’re connected to someone, it’s hard to not feel hopeful.
Knowing you are connected to someone on a regular basis is essential to emotional well-being.
Even when you are alone, you won’t feel so lonely if you’re feeling hopeful. Hope comes from faith in Jesus and what He promises.
This Christmas, focus on seeing God’s reality. Ask God to help you believe and you’ll have hope for the holidays. Your heart will be home for Christmas.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.