Thirty years ago, you had to have everything …
Thirty years ago, you had to have everything you needed for Christmas day prior to the day. Towns were ghostly. No stores were open for business. There would be no running to a convenient store for milk, eggs, or sugar. You’d best have your car fueled up or be at your chosen destination. It was a time for observance, honor, celebration, and family.
Webby and I drove back through town on the way home from visiting our in-town kids Christmas morn. Sharing breakfast and viewing their haul from Santa is a family tradition. (What a heart tug to be away from the out-of-town clan. We wish we could be both places at once.) Our car was low on gas. We didn’t have to wonder if there’d be any stores open to accommodate our need. We, unfortunately, knew the answer.
I watched the busyness as he stood pumping gas at the station. Piles of people poured into the convenience station. I noticed a marked difference in the people who dropped in for business. There were the ones on a mission to rescue the special feast to happen later in the day. Then, there were the ones who were lonely – without mission, without purpose, without joy. They dropped in for a cup of coffee, to play the lottery, or to pick up a pack of cigarettes or gum.
There was no light in their face. Eyes were distant, gloomy. No pep in their step. Their gait was slothful. Their motions were thoughtless, quite mechanical. A sad and sullen look saturated their countenance. Symptoms of loneliness clouded their presence.
My heart felt heavy and empathetic for these people. I once clothed myself in the same attire. It was so long ago that I was amazed I recalled its familiar sentiment. The isolated experience is such that you care to never revisit it. Your hollow heart leaves you weary and worn. And Christmas loneliness … it was always the most tormenting.
It wasn’t until I discovered the essence of Christmas that my forlorn feeling would subside. Once I experienced the love of Jesus – the baby Who brought about the season – my give-away symptoms of hopelessness disappeared. Yes, I know that even Christians get lonely. People long for companionship and family and love of the human touch. But when Jesus fills that void in your heart, He provides the mission, the purpose and the joy that puts new meaning into your existence.
All the lonely people … Hmm. Why be lonely? If you only knew my Jesus, the Christ child who breathed Christmas into the hearts of the world, you could lose that feeling forever.