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This Christmas season I’ve been especially aware of those who feel alone during the holidays:

  • My grandparents are in Glory.
  • My father and father in law are both in Heaven.
  • This fall we moved away from our kids and their spouses, back to the community where Bob & Fairy, my “third grandpa and grandma” lived and served the Lord.  But they’re not here – they too have been in Glory for several years.
  • Our moms and our brothers and sisters and their families are several states away this Christmas & New Years.

Distance.   Family no longer here on earth.  It would have been easy—in fact it was a struggle not—to think about the things and people who weren’t here this Christmas. Reading Facebook greetings and well-wishes made it more difficult for me this year.  I made myself go to work.  I made myself meet deadlines – barely.  I created, improved, dreamed about the future, all the while thinking about all I wished was still nearby.  I got quiet; probably a li’l cranky at times.

I think the Lord knew.  Doesn’t He always?  And one morning this last week, in my time alone with Him He whispered to me through the name of His Son — Immanuel.

“You are not alone. I – am with – you. That’s what Immanuel means. God. With us.”

I sat in silence for several minutes.   I know it’s true. But I feel alone.

Think about the right things, Phil.

But….

Finally I “led myself” to the right perspective.

“Self-leading” is a term I learned from Noah Palmer, a former colleague who wanted to be a coach before the Lord let him into ministry.  Self-leading goes like this:

  • I recognize the difference between how I’m thinking right now and how I should be thinking.
  • I tell myself what I should do.
  • I argue with myself.
  • I insist.
  • I give in.
  • I do the right thing – at last.
  • I tell myself “good job.”

The last few days it went this way.    “I shouldn’t be thinking this way. I know why I’m down but I really am blessed. God has been good to me and to my family.  I need to count my blessings again and rise above this.

“That may be, but I still miss the family and friends who aren’t here this week.

“Ahem… You’re going to be a mess if you keep thinking that way, and God isn’t obligated to bless thoughts like those.

“Oh-kay… I’ll adjust.

“Good.  You won’t regret this.”

And I didn’t regret it.

Immanuel – God with us, isn’t just for Christmas.  It’s for the day after too.
And New Years Eve.  New Years’ day. January 2nd. 3rd. Right on through the year.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you”, He said.  (Hebrews 13.5)

… I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;   (John 14.16)

No, I’m not alone.  Neither are you, if you’ve stepped across the line of faith and made Jesus Christ your Savior.   Life may not be easy, but He’s always with His children – and that’s the best comfort one can have when life drifts toward loneliness.  You are NOT alone.

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