I distinctly remember the year I felt the holidays coming … and cringed. Where thoughts of Christmas had once filled me with eager anticipation, that anticipation had morphed into dread. I was single at Christmas and not loving it. Maybe you can relate? Whether divorced, widowed, separated by circumstance or single and feeling like it’s a life sentence rather than a choice, the holidays can hurt.
I had always viewed Christmas as a time to be together, but as I went to parties solo, wrapped gifts alone, and planned out splitting my kids’ time between two houses, it felt more like a reminder of all I had lost or did not yet have.
My loneliness and discontent made me grumpy, sad, and honestly quite ungrateful. It wasn’t my circumstances that needed to change—it was my heart. I had forgotten that Christmas was a gift itself, and not about me at all. When my perspective shifted, my heart followed, and Christmas began to feel joyful again.
Here are four things everyone who’s single at Christmas can do to get their joy back.
- Shake up tradition. I find that I, and most singles I know, struggle with a loss or change in traditions. When there’s no significant other to sip hot chocolate with near the fireside or kids at home to decorate the tree, it’s easy to feel downright depressed. This is the time to create traditions that don’t hinge on who is or isn’t there, but instead create something that celebrates Jesus’ birth while making unforgettable memories.
- Don’t celebrate solo. Being single doesn’t mean you’re created to do life alone. There is no better time than the holidays to find people to grow, laugh, and serve with. Who better than a circle of friends to make memories with at Christmas. Need a new circle? Find a LifeGroup.
- Be the blessing. In Acts 20:35 AMP Paul reminds us of Jesus’ teaching: “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.” It’s no coincidence that the year I began serving at church is the year I began to have a heart change. I served not one but several Christmas services as an usher. I got to be a part of something bigger than myself, and in the process, I developed friendships and a deeper relationship with God.
- Keep Christ at the center of your Christmas. My Christmases have been so much sweeter the more I have shifted my focus away from me and instead, to Jesus. My annual Advent study has been one key to remembering and savoring the miracle of Christ’s birth. Our feelings of loneliness might be more noticeable during the holidays. But Christmas reminds us Jesus is Immanuel, God with us! He didn’t want us to be without Him. And God is with us in the valleys of grief and disappointment we feel more deeply at Christmastime.
If you’re single at Christmas, and you’re not loving it, it’s not strange to Jesus. He understands the loneliness you’re feeling—but He is with you. He chose to leave heaven to be with you. His Holy Spirit can be with you right now if you’ve chosen to trust and follow Jesus. He will never leave you. And if you’ll try creating new memories, reaching out to others, serving, and seeking Jesus as the center of Christmas, you’ll soon find yourself loving Christmas more than you ever have!