It’s not so bad, you just need a plan:
1) Start a few weeks early, mailing out cards and gifts in advance. (Just because you can’t be with your friends and family on Christmas Day doesn’t mean you don’t send your season’s greetings.)
2) Go grocery shopping before Christmas Day, because on the day of, the stores will be closed and you’ll be left hungry. Since you’ll be alone, there ain’t no one to cook for you but yourself. (And if you don’t know how to cook, maybe it’s a good time to start learning..)
On Monday and Tuesday I had to work as usual. It was a cold and rainy evening commute. Without an umbrella, I couldn’t walk to the full service grocery store (aka ‘Whole Paycheck’) so I walked to a nearby store and picked up ham, green beans, and mashed potatoes. Unfortunately they didn’t have real potatoes or fresh green beans so I was obligated to buy boxed potatoes and prewashed green beans. Don’t judge. =P
3) All the love you would have given to your friends and family- give to your neighbors and those around you instead.
The reason why I couldn’t spend Christmas with my family is because of work. (Being a nurse is a 365 day/year occupation). For me, that means my patients become my family. And that means... being intentional.
For him, devastated by a new diagnosis, he needed the gift of time. So I spent a little longer explaining to him the seriousness of his disease, the signs and symptoms to know when to call for help, the ways he can assure that his disease is under control.
For her, after a recent hospitalization, she needed the gift of attentiveness. It meant someone following up with her- reminding her to come in, see her doctor, have her bloodwork drawn, reconcile her meds… to prevent her from getting sicker.
For him, anxious about his results, he needed the gift of reassurance. That we didn’t forget him. That his health, his well being are important, vital to us. It comes in the form of a smile, a pause in a busy work day, a conversation.
“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless.
The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty.
We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”
4) Remember the Reason for the Season. It is not about commercialism (ugh), materialism (UGH), Christmas trees, Santa, or even the notion of spending time with family…
It is remembering that though alone (whether daily, or temporarily), we are loved by God.
We live in a messed up, dysfunctional, broken world (as evidenced by all the violence in Southern Sudan, the Pope’s urgent prayer for aid to Syria, the senseless gun violence in the States, Philippine typhoon victims still coping during Christmas)… but God had an ultimate plan. A Savior was born, to give us hope and ‘good tidings of great joy.’
Whether you are alone, or surrounded by others this Christmas,
may God be near to you.
~ ~ ~
(when he starts singing, “Fall…. on your knees…” wow. it’s chilling. it is as though God’s heavens open up and angels are singing of His glory.)
Currently listening: Silent Night – Orchestra Flash Mob at the MFA Boston