As I write this thinking about the recent loss of my mother-in-law, I’m reminded of the difficult time that many people have during the holidays. While we were spending time with Christy’s dad during Thanksgiving, ten of us went out to have dinner. Upon leaving the restaurant, my son Caleb said, “If Grandma were here, there would have been 11 of us.” There was an empty feeling that was felt by everyone, even a 6 year old boy who’s still trying to figure out the grief associated with losing a loved one. Many people experience loneliness and depression during this time year, and it is especially true for those who have lost loved ones in recent years.
What’s ironic is that these occasions were meant to be joyful. During Thanksgiving we celebrate God’s blessing of provision. At Christmas we rejoice that God sent His only Son to save the world. But it’s during these times that we come together to celebrate with people we love. When those people we love are absent, it leaves an empty space.
My encouragement to you during this holiday season is to think about the people in your lives and our church who are lonely during this time of year. I encourage all of you to consider people who are isolated and reach out to them. The cure for loneliness is loving and caring people. It could mean sending a card, bringing a gift or inviting someone to dinner.
Perhaps you are one of those people feeling loss during the holidays. My encouragement to you is to seek out the Lord, who comforts the comfortless (John 14:18) and loves us with a perfect, divine love (I John 4:8). Our relationship with Him is the one that matters most. He has promised to “never leave us nor forsake us.” (Heb 13:5) It’s normal to miss the ones we love and it’s good to remember them, but we also look forward to a day when we will sit at the great banquet table of the Lord and enjoy time with Him and with loved ones who have gone before.