Christmas is presented almost exclusively as a family holiday. But not everyone can look forward to holiday time with loved ones. The reasons for this are more prevalent than people realize:
- You have no living relatives.
- Physical distance makes it impossible to see the family you do have.
- Serious problems in the family make it a toxic situation, and you choose to stay away.
- Longstanding conflicts make it difficult to get together.
- You are too ill or financially limited to get out of the house or travel.
And sometimes we have personal reasons to avoid family time:
- You are weary of being the unmarried adult at the gathering.
- You are weary of being the only married couple who hasn’t yet had children.
- Your life is messed up, and you are too ashamed or embarrassed to attend family functions.
- You’d like to throw a little party but don’t feel that you have the resources to do so.
- You think that you can’t be around family until all conflicts are resolved, and they never are.
- For whatever reason, you feel like the odd person out or the older relative who depends on everyone else for transportation or other help.
- You suffer from depression, acute anxiety, or some other condition that makes group situations very difficult.
It may be small comfort that the original Christmas journey had nothing to do with a big family gathering but with a young couple, close to childbirth, making a dangerous journey while under enemy occupation. But it might help if we turn away from unrealistic cultural depictions of Christmas and consider why we needed—and still need—a Divine visitation.
No matter your situation, there’s always a way to say yes to this visitation. The Christ Child introduced to us a fresh vision of an outside-the-box kind of God, one who works wonder in the world through people who are poor and powerless. This God is not impressed with “Hallmark moments” and is best known for using people who were too old, too rejected by others, too out of the mainstream, and too screwed up morally, emotionally, mentally, or whatever.
And there is always a way to visit upon one other human being the kindness and respect we all so desperately need. So I hope that, regardless of your holiday situation, you will open your heart and make there a true home for Divine Love.