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5 Ways To Help Hurting and Lonely People through the Holidays

Linda Ranson Jacobs : Dec 4, 2018 : Faithwire.com

As a sufferer, I ought to run toward Christmas. Christmas tells me there is hope for people like me who are going through what I'm going through. Christmas guarantees that God has, will, and will continue to address what I'm going through.

airlift[Faithwire.com] "Is it New Year's yet? I just want this year to be over." (Photo: Creative Commons-Pixabay)

While many of us have been rushing around the past few weeks getting ready to celebrate the birth of our Savior, others are experiencing tremendous loneliness. They have been trudging through the holidays just waiting for the new year to be ushered in.

Many of these lonely and hurting people will be sitting in your pews this Christmas. You may never realize the depth of the loneliness they are experiencing.

Wanda, who lost her husband in October, said, "I've learned that Christmas is not just a holiday—it's an entire season of its own. And it is longer than spring, summer, fall, and winter all put together!"

This widow's sentiment is what so many hurting people feel as they muddle through the holidays. Because of the anticipation that everything will be easier once life gets back to a normal routine, the hardest time seems to be the few days before Christmas Day and the week between Christmas and New Year's Day.

Here are some practical tips that can be used to help hurting, lonely people in your community to survive the holidays.

1. COMMUNICATE THAT LONELINESS IS A NORMAL EMOTION

Normalizing the emotion of loneliness over the holidays is key in helping people cope with it. Everyone needs to know that intense loneliness over the holidays is a normal, expected emotion for people who have experienced a loss.

Lonely people in your community may look around and think they are alone in what they're feeling. They are so caught up in the personal crisis that they're not aware that other people in the room are experiencing the same thing and possibly on a deeper level. All they know in their small, hurting world is that they feel isolated and forlorn in their hurting.

I know how they feel because I was there at one point in my life. My husband died at the end of October. My grown children lived out of town. To top it off, my house flooded a few days before Christmas. On Christmas Eve I sat in my house with my furniture up on bricks, the carpet torn out, and my heart filled with sorrow.

I had never felt so alone. I didn't want to face the next day or even the next week. I wondered how on earth I was going to get through New Year's Eve, a night that had always been so special and personal for my husband and me. When I went to church, I was sure everyone in the congregation had special plans for New Year's Eve. I was sure there was no one in that entire room who was as lonely as I was at that moment.

Help the hurting, lonely people in your church understand they are not the only ones experiencing deep loneliness and those feelings will not always be as intense as they are right now. Then remind them what Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 says:

"There is a time for everything ... a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance."

Lonely people may even wonder if God knows how lonely they are. Remind them of God's promises in Scripture of His constant, abiding presence. Remind them that no matter what they are feeling, the truth is that God is there with them.

2. BE SENSITIVE TO THE HURTING AND LONELY REGARDING HOLIDAY EVENTS

Many times church leaders plan events surrounding the holidays months in advance. However, as the holidays catch up to the actual events, it's important to take a few minutes to assess how your events will be perceived by the widower who just lost his precious wife to cancer, the young couple who miscarried, the newly divorced person, or other people in your congregation who have experienced a crisis... Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

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