Across the world the festive season is celebrated in different ways and for different reasons, but most commonly the festive season is known as family time. During this festive season many of us find ourselves in a lonely season of our lives and we have to make it through this time, alone. Many people have stayed behind while their children and family have immigrated to a different country, some have lost their loved ones and hold tightly to memories of past Christmas experiences, some don’t have family members left, some have broken relationships within their family and some find themselves alone because of circumstances. Whatever the reason may be, there are thousands of people that don’t share in the excitement and festive feeling promoted in society but rather experience a sense of rejection, abandonment, loneliness, hopelessness and some may even feel heartbroken and depressed.

Sometimes we find ourselves incapable of changing our circumstances, but we can try and shift our focus away from the negative emotions while still acknowledging them, and try to bring something else into focus. We tend to focus on ourselves and our negative thoughts and when this happens, it blows up out of perspective. Our negative thoughts overshadow anything that is positive and good, which results in us not being able to see the good. This is the time to focus on the real reason for the season: Jesus Christ who was willing to leave heaven and come to this earth to set as free from sin, and God the Father who loves us so much that He sent His only Son to redeem us, and lastly, the Holy Spirit who is here now, in our midst, to comfort us and help us. It is important to shift the focus away from the circumstances so that it can be returned into the right Godly perspective where you get the strength to make it through.

Here are some tips to help you through the festive season blues:

Praise: Make time during the day to take a tambourine, an empty can, a pot with a spoon, a shaker or anything that can make a noise and use it to praise God for His character. Focus on the truths set out in the Word of God and praise Him for them. Praise Him for truths He has revealed to you about yourself – that you are love, called for a purpose, created by Him, worthy of His presence through the Blood of Jesus, children of the Highest God. Use this time to give thanks for everything that you do have. This takes us from the bottom of the mountain to the top of the mountain where we can see our circumstance in perspective.

Be active: Eat healthy and get some exercise. Find a park near you (where it is safe) and go for a walk/run. Exercise is essential and can also be combined with a prayer session. While you walk pray for the country, hospital staff and patients, prosecuted Christians, human-trafficked victims, orphaned children, homeless people, substance abusers, victims of physical/sexual/emotional abuse, schools and the children attending, and most importantly ask that the Holy Spirit leads you in prayer.

If you are suffering from a loss of a loved one, don’t try and forget about the sadness and grief; do something in their honour, start a tradition in the person’s name or do something that reminds you of them. It is important to acknowledge and deal with grief, especially in this season.

Reach out: If you know of other people that may experience loneliness during the season, invite them over for dinner. You might know someone from church or work that will also be spending Christmas alone, but create an opportunity for people that may experience the same emotions as you to enjoy themselves with the company of others.

Reach out to the less fortunate. There are many children living on the streets, children in children’s homes that don’t have family to spend Christmas with, elderly people in old age homes that have nowhere to go, people in hospitals with no visitors. Reach out to these people! Compile a small gift of R50 with a chocolate/pens/juice/toys, Google an organisation in your community that works with disabled/elderly/orphaned/abandoned/homeless/sick, phone them and ask permission to bring a gift and take the gift to the organisation. This way you can make a difference in a person’s life by this basic gesture.

Be creative: Write, draw, mosaic, paint or collage your life story. Start anywhere on your life timeline and write what happened in your life, include details and if you want add pictures to compile your life album.

There are many different ways to spend your time during Christmas season and if you have to spend it alone, make sure you find something good in every day to give thanks for. Make time to seek Jesus, for He is the real reason for the season!

His promises will ensue: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD…” Jeremiah 29:11-14 (ESV).

A blessed Christ-filled season to you all!

Elrisa Oppermann