Holidays – “The best of times, the worst of times”  By:  Lois Breit

Every year I get excited about the Christmas season.  I look forward to eggnog appearing in the grocery store cooler, lights twinkling from windows and rooftops, nostalgic music filled with hope, and the smell of a real Christmas tree in the living room.  I reminisce about past Christmas’, especially the older I get, and wonder what future Christmas’ will bring.  

However, on the heels of all this excitement and hub-bub, I find myself more lonely than ever.  I’m now an empty nester single mother, living far from my grown children, facing another season of loneliness – and I know I’m not the only woman experiencing this.  I wonder why God has taken me far from family and friends as I serve Him, yet know my loneliness is no surprise to God.

Thus, Holidays are ‘the best of times and the worst of times’!

So what is the solution to this common holiday funk and feeling of loneliness?  Well, single moms (and women in general), we have some choices to make.

Single Moms:
You can wish the days away, or count them down with an advent calendar.  You can feel the pressure of buying gifts you can’t afford, or look for those special ‘treasures’ all year long.  You can dream of Christmas’ past, that will never be again; or you can create new Christmas traditions you’re family will embrace for generations to come.  You can feel lonely and sad, or be grateful that God has helped you survive the most difficult time of your life.  You can believe all the ‘good’ years are behind you; or you can trust God’s Word that your best days are still ahead.  Here are a few suggestions to help make the holidays happier for you and your family.

    •    Bake together – Make some fun and easy holiday cookies or treats.  Don’t think about the mess, enjoy the moment, and use simple economical recipes.  Bon appetite!
    •    Make some ornaments together – The library is a great resource for Christmas crafts or ornaments
    •    Make Christmas cards – Share these with family, friends, military (see the American Red Cross web site) or local Veterans Hospital or Women’s Shelter
    •    Play some games – Turn off the TV for an evening and turn on some family time
    •    Share your baked goods, cards or ornaments – With the ‘lonely’ in your apartment, neighborhood or church
    •    Shop for a ‘Shoe Box’ – (see – Let your children help pick out gifts for your Shoe Box
    •    Think of others plight, not just your own

Empty Nesters:

    •    Open your home to others that are alone.  Not just on the holiday, but in the weeks that precede it.
    •    Have a movie night at your home (or at a theater) with other single adults
    •    Become involved in a community or church outreach or play
    •    Read an inspiring book – stories that will challenge and inspire, rather than stories that fuel sadness and melancholy.  
    •    Don’t isolate yourself!

I could go on but this gives you a place to start.  

Being alone may be out of our control, but being lonely is a battle we can win.  When loneliness strikes, as it will, don’t let it beat you down.  Begin quickly to make choices that will bring you joy this holiday season.

Psalm 68:6 – “God sets the lonely in families…”  The ‘family’ God has placed you in for this holiday season may not look the way you’d like, or be filled with the people you miss most.  However, if we can remember the blessing they are to us, rather than the people they are not, we will find God’s peace in the best of times in the worst of times.