A Letter to "Lonely Heart"

Dear Lonely Heart,

(I will call you Lou, to protect your privacy, okay?)

You said you hate Christmas because it's the loneliest time of the year. I've been thinking about it and want to talk this over with you, if I may.

You didn't tell me, Lou, so I've been speculating as to what might be the causes of your loneliness.

Christmas is very much a season for getting together with other people, especially family members or loved ones. Therefore, the first reason might be that you have no loved ones to gather with.

There are lots of times I don't feel fully understood by my family members, even most acquaintances, but I always know there are those who do love me nevertheless. Picturing you without anyone loving you at all strikes me as a very severe kind of loneliness. Especially if you observe that others are receiving such warm love and exchanging special gifts.

On the other hand, you might have a loving family or a few dear friends who love you tremendously, but if you are not able to be with them at Christmas, when you know that other families do have each other in arms' reach... well, that must be a bittersweet pain as well.

When I lived far from my family, there was that touch of homesickness, but I had other relatives and friends to keep me busy and involved, so it wasn't quite so hard. Right now I have a sister who is far from me, and I think of her every day. But again, I don't think I feel near the loneliness you are experiencing, Lou.

It occurs to me that there are some individuals who literally have no one they trust or feel close to, despite the fact they are surrounded by people they know and who know them. There is that weird kind of loneliness of spirit that happens even at a very crowded and lively family gathering, or in a street mob of hundreds or thousands.

Is that the kind of loneliness you have, Lou?

I suppose there are still other possible reasons; depression, persecution, imprisonment, - makes me morose just thinking of these things!

So what can you do to become unlonely, Lou?

In thinking back to times when I have felt most lonely, I realize what kept me from going over the brink was that I knew God still loved and cared for me. It was my only hope, and caused me to cry out to Him, and to lean heavily on every promise of His I found in the Bible. From my current, much happier perspective, I realize that this great Lover of our Souls is waiting eagerly in the wings to love you into happiness and joy too.

In fact, the more I dwell on who God is, and the beauty and intricacy of this world, the whole universe and His dealings with us, His created human beings, the more I know, with a triumphant joy in my heart, that He loves every single person who has ever lived. He loves us with this unfathomable love!

But He has made this marvelous relationship of love optional to us. We must choose to receive His love, and to choose it, someone has to tell us about Him. Otherwise, God will continue to seem vague and cool and distant to us. Even though He isn't far at all.

Because I've experienced His love up close and personal, this thought that you'll miss out if no one tells you revs me up with a holy boldness. I must overcome any shyness I have to tell you this good news!

Now, God is so awesome in His power and holiness and high standards that most people are afraid to get close to Him. He solved that though, by coming to earth as one of us, starting out as a baby - in a manger, where cows and donkeys had drooled as they munched their hay.

Jesus Himself said, "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father (God)." So if we want to know what God is really like, invisible Spirit though He be, we can get to know Jesus from the stories in the New Testament. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John do a wonderful job of making Jesus come alive in the stories they tell. Please do read them!

I learned about Him through sermons and Sunday School lessons as I was growing up, but my best, most reliable source has been my Bible. I read it every day, and re-reading only opens my understanding to nuances that I missed in previous readings.

It was in reading and praying and re-reading that I got to know Jesus, and thus God, in the most intimate ways in the most lonely days and months of my life. Over the years He has become so precious to me, that even if I had absolutely no one to spend Christmas with - it would not matter. I would not be totally alone and unloved.

What is more, knowing that He loves me, and I love Him, makes me a friendlier, more out-going and loving person to others, family, friends, or strangers. I see today that is why I get so much love back from others. I have learned to love people, because God first loved me.

So Lou, now I'm all excited! I want you to have all this too!

As I see it, you can start immediately. Take my word for it that God loves you and is eager to show it to You. On the basis of that, reach out to Him by telling Him honestly all your thoughts and feelings. Ask Him to come into Your life, and be your Best Friend. Ask Him to clear away all that is unlovely and unlovable in you, and to fill you with as much of His love as you can hold at this time.

Feelings are unreliable, especially at the beginning, so you need to believe that He hears and answers you. Over time, because He knows every little detail about you, He will use the perfect way to communicate His love to you. You'll KNOW that you know His love!

Get a Bible and start to read, stopping to think, and to tell Him your response to everything that catches your attention.

Do not be afraid to let the tears flow and wrinkle up the pages of your Bible. They will be healing and He will save up every tear drop and put it away in a bottle labeled with your name up in Heaven.

(Hey, He's got shelves full of bottles with my name on them already! Psalms 56:8 says he treasures them; He writes down all our laments in a scroll too).

I feel confident, Lou, that you'll not feel lonely very long any more. By next Christmas, you'll be so busy loving others because you love the Lord, that you'll be surrounded by people who want to show you some love and attention too!

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