Being Alone and Lonely: a Personal Note

This is Thursday, December 14, the day of the beginning of this essay, just eleven days before Christmas, and for some it is the loneliest time of the year. And I am sharing that loneliness as rarely before, and I have no idea how or why.

Alone again? Maybe we could attend some events like hearing a choir, attending a local church, participating in a neighborhood gathering—maybe something similar to these, but in reality, we are by ourselves on Christmas Eve and morning and all that day. Yes, there is television, but alone and lonely.

During some troubling times in my life, I had to experience being alone, and I was not used to it. The worst of it was Christmas, both eve and morning. No Christmas tree, no presents, no special meal, just alone and lonely. And though I am not alone this Christmas, I am experiencing the anguish of others who will be all or mostly alone.

Does it help knowing that we are not the only ones who will be alone for Christmas? Yes, I think it does or can, but the void will still be there.

What to do? Frankly, I am not sure what to advise, but I have some ideas about what might be done to relieve, to some measure, that crushing sense of being alone.

Get on the phone! Some lonely people do this regularly, and good for them, yet for those who rarely make such calls, I suggest initiating calling, emailing, or texting, but mostly making direct telephone calls. I will be doing this, especially Christmas Day, both making and receiving.

Invite people over! This might not be possible for some, but if it is, do it. Think of some who may likely be alone for this special season. Yeah, you may be turned down, but so what! Go ahead and make the calls anyway.

Invite people to meet you at a favorite restaurant! This might work, if it doesn’t work to invite someone over to where you live, and be sure to say that you are covering the cost. Yes, a Christmas gift.

Invite someone to go on a walk with you! I live by the Marin County Civic Center and a wonderful place to walk around at the site of the county fair. Even if it’s a cold day, even wet, taking a good walk around a beautiful landscape is refreshing and encouraging.

Open up to others to come over to your place (not always possible) and spend the day. Right now, two people who would have to spend Christmas Eve and Day alone in their cars will be staying overnight in the Fellowship Hall at MAC. (How I wish we had the facilities to provide housing for such people.)

Okay, I am out of suggestions. You may come up with something else, but the whole thing is to act. Of course, we run the risk of being turned down, but it is worth the effort.

Now then, remember that we, as followers of Jesus, are never alone. And as I write this, I am thinking of those who are alone no matter how many family members and friends they have, because they don’t have the Best Friend: Jesus. For those who are part of the Family of God, we are never actually alone, but so many are. This might be a time for direct and personal evangelism.

Christmas time may be the perfect occasion to spend considerable time in reading the Word and praying. The opening chapters in Matthew and Luke, with the stories of the Nativity, are perfect.

This may seem a little odd to you, but in my early days as a Christian, basically from my conversion at age 21 and up to and including my first three years in seminary, I never called my pastor. I did not think that was the right thing to do, with no idea how I came to think this, but I want anyone who reads this to know you can call me, text me, or email me anytime. If I cannot talk or respond at that moment, okay, we will work out a time. Here is my contact information: 415.302-1199 and

In closing, let us remember to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who is always with us, no matter how we feel or how we think. Merry Christmas to all. Kent

P.S. For SF Bay Area locals, please join us on Christmas Day at MAC’s fellowship hall, around 11:00 am to sometime in the afternoon for very casual eating, talking, music, or whatever—nothing fancy or liturgical, just fellowship in the hall.

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