Empty Christmas

by | May 24, 2004 | Christmas, Lonliness

Lamentations 3:31 For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.

Christmas is supposed to be the season of peace and goodwill, but for some people it is tainted with sadness and sometimes bitterness. Throughout my years of ministry, I’ve come across broken people, whose feelings have been hurt, whose lives have been scarred, and whose hearts have been wounded.

Usually, it’s another family member that has caused the woe, and so Christmas becomes either a tense occasion because of something unspoken and unforgiven, or there’s emptiness in the family home because someone won’t be there this Christmas. What is meant to be a joyful and cheerful celebration becomes tainted with isolation, worry, and grief.

In our family, my mother’s brother Andrew emigrated to Canada in the 1960’s. He was one of my favorite uncles. He was handsome and dashing, a great joker around his nieces and nephews, and a wonderful soccer player. I can remember watching my Uncle Andy on Saturday mornings running rings around the opposition and scoring some of the sweetest goals I have ever seen in my life. When he left for Canada with his young wife, we were all broken hearted and missed him terribly.

Things didn’t turn out well for him. He suffered from the curse that hangs over our family – alcoholism. Eventually, it destroyed his marriage and his pretty wife and two children came back to Scotland. Uncle Andy was left on his own. He moved from Calgary, Alberta to work as a cab driver on the streets of Toronto. As each year passed, we heard less and less from him. We all knew he was isolating himself and we all wanted him to come home. Christmases were empty without him.

Then one morning, we got the phone call that we all dreaded. Uncle Andy had died in Vancouver. Alcohol had killed him and when the authorities found him, he had been dead for days. It broke all of our hearts and, to this day, there’s still an empty place at Christmas.

It says in Lamentations that men are not cast off by the Lord forever and that means not one of us is ever completely isolated and cut off from God. It is His wish that we all stay connected and that we forgive the woes of the past and heal our present wounds, so that we can share a restored love forevermore.

This Christmas, don’t leave it too late to reach out to someone that you’ve felt disconnected to for such a long time. Let God’s holy work of peace and goodwill enter your hearts and homes, to help you recover lost ones.

Prayer: Lord God, You have not made us for grief and disappointment or for loneliness and isolation. Our hearts are meant to be filled with love and joy, not bitterness or disappointment. Help us to forgive those who have deeply hurt us; help us to seek forgiveness from those we have disappointed. Restore to all of us the joy of Your salvation, which comes to us through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

(You can respond to today’s devotion by contacting me below)

John Stuart traqair@aol.com
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA


Empty Christmas