I love Christmas, but I don’t love how Christmas can highlight feelings of loneliness. When loved ones live far away, when we don’t have many friends, when we are ill, when we have been shunned, when we are simply forgotten, or when we have lost a loved one, these are all reasons we can feel lonely at Christmas. Unfortunately, I am no stranger to this. But in bringing my loneliness to God, He has caused me to ponder the details surrounding the very first Christmas.
Mary and Joseph
I first think of Joseph, who was most likely outcast for his fiancee’s mysterious pregnancy. He was willing to do all that God asked him despite the enormous cost to his reputation. He then continues to do his best in serving God, but his best efforts cause his wife to give birth in a barn. There were no congratulatory slaps on the back from his family or cigar sharing with his friends. Everything he did, he did out of service to God and this is where they end up? Surely, he felt lonely.
I think of Mary, who also was outcast because of the ‘sketchy’ details surrounding her pregnancy. She knew this baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit but how do you convince anyone else of that? After traveling many miles riding on a donkey, she and her husband needed a place to stay. Either she was seen as ‘nobody’ or perhaps news of their ‘scandal’ followed them as no one was willing to give up their room for a lady in labour?! How harsh! No one was concerned about her health or her welfare. Surely, she felt alone.
I think of the shepherds, who were considered the losers and leftovers of society because of their vocation, or maybe it was the other way around. Perhaps shepherding was their only option because they were considered the losers and leftovers of society. In either case, their closest companions were the sheep they looked after. They were not invited or included in anything as society stamped them: unimportant. Surely, they felt alone.
The Wise Men
I think of the wise men, who put their entire lives on hold to pursue the meaning of a star. What about everything they had in the East? Did they not have families? Did they not have friends? Did they not have responsibilities or jobs or social lives? If they did all this, they had to leave it. I can only imagine people’s reactions to their decision to follow a star. Surely, they felt alone.
Good News Of Great Joy
This is the scene in which Christ chooses to enter the world: in a barn full of outcasts. If you really think about it, the entire cast of the Christmas story were probably struggling with loneliness. His birth was announced by angels to…the lonely. Hear the announcement:
I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.Luke 2:10-12
This sign, the baby in a manger, was not meant to highlight our pain, but to remind that Christ entered into our pain. It is meant to highlight who He is: He is Christ the Lord. God With Us.
You are loved, desired and chosen by an amazing Savior. On that first Christmas, He gave us all a gift: Himself. And before you dismiss that as irrelevant to your circumstance, ponder it again. The King of kings with all of heaven’s hosts as His company, left all of that to enter into our circumstances with us. That’s how much He wants to be with us. Best Christmas gift ever. Hear the announcement of his arrival into your loneliness:
A Savior has been born TO YOU, He is Christ the Lord.