This year (for reasons I will not go into), I was faced with a difficult dilemma about how/where I would spend Christmas day. Proverbs 17:1 says, “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house of feasting, with strife.” This is the situation I was faced with, so I decided my best option was the former.
With that decision came the sudden realization that I might be “home alone” on Christmas. At first, the thought felt like a fate worse than death (of course, I actually look forward to death, but that is another commentary altogether 🙂 ). Although many of my life’s Christmases were not altogether “fun and games,” over all, since I was a child, Christmas Day was always a time filled with family, festivities and feasting. So the idea of being alone felt like a huge lack.
But then, I thought about the fact that most scholars will tell you that Jesus was likely not born on December 25th (a discussion I won’t go into here – if you doubt that, you can research it for yourself). The day was actually “ordained” by the early Roman Catholic Church as an alternative to other pagan holidays already celebrated around that time (and many of our traditions, like the Christmas tree, actually stem from those pagan celebrations). I have known that most all my life, and yet I didn’t really care. I always enjoyed the fact that for one day out of the year, many people stopped and acknowledged the Greatest Gift that was given to the world. Even for many of those who don’t believe in Jesus, it is still a day to stop and attempt to enjoy the gifts of love, joy and peace. I think the desires for these things are innately in every human heart (even if they are later distorted) and are a longing for “something better” that is meant to drive us to their Source – Whose plan is to eventually destroy all evil and create a Kingdom where only these things exist.
But I digress…. In thinking about the prospect of being alone on Christmas, I quickly realized it is really no different from being alone any other day. And alone for me is not a bad thing. For one thing, the One whose birth we celebrate has brought a peace into my heart that I feel at all times (and maybe the most when I am alone). And secondly, the truth of the matter is, I’m never alone. Because the One whose birth we celebrate came to restore me into fellowship with Him and His Father and His promise is: “…Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) and “…be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
So after a leisurely morning and wonderful breakfast of baked french toast, I spent the next several hours alternating between boogie boarding (my first of the season) and beach time. Then I spent the rest of the day breaking out my mother’s recipe file (which was brought to me in one of my suitcases by my friend Deanna when she visited for my birthday) and making some of my favorite “comfort foods” that I haven’t had in a long time. And to top it all off, God rounded out the day by giving me one of the most glorious, straight into the water sunsets I’ve ever seen!
And I realized, on this first Christmas in my new home, that “alone” was actually a gift – and one I am extremely grateful for!