Christmas is, for many people, the most joyful, glorious, happy time of the year. At the same time, it can be the loneliest season for others. Many look around and see others laughing, hugging, kissing, and singing; and it reinforces their emptiness and loneliness.
What is ironic and sad is that Christmas is about undoing loneliness. Isaiah shared with us seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ, "Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). Immanuel means "God with us." And if God is with us, how can we ever be lonely again? But, far more people are lonely than we may dream.
Loneliness Is a Common Fact
What is loneliness? Well, let me tell you what loneliness is not. Loneliness is not solitude. Thank God for solitude. Jesus, many times, would withdraw Himself from the crowds to be alone. Loneliness is not lonesomeness. You can be lonesome and not lonely. Loneliness is not isolation. You can be lonely in a crowd. In fact, sometimes a crowd may increase your loneliness.
Loneliness is a painful sense of being unwanted, unneeded, uncared for, maybe even unnecessary. Every person has three basic emotional needs. Every one of us has a need for someone to love and someone to love us. We also all need somebody who understands us, who knows how we feel. And then we desire somebody who wants us and needs us. We need to be needed.
Causes of Loneliness
So, what can cause loneliness?
• Past Rejections — You may have been rejected in the past, and you're afraid to try again.
• Insecurity — In your mind, you may not feel worthy to be accepted, so you don't reach out for other people.
• Grief — If you've experienced grief, you may feel like nobody understands how badly you hurt. You close up, drop out, hunker down, and live a lonely life of isolation because you think nobody understands.
• Self-centeredness — You may be all wrapped up inside of yourself. You live in a bubble of pride and self-centeredness.
• Sinful Lifestyle — Sin builds walls. Cain murdered his brother Abel and was driven away from the presence of God, from home, and from loved ones. (Genesis 6:13).
• The Depersonalization of Society — When you buy something in a store, you may never even make eye contact. You may live in a house and not even know your neighbors.
Loneliness Is a Crippling Force
Loneliness cripples. It may cripple you emotionally. One survey showed that eighty percent of psychiatric patients sought help because of loneliness, and counselors will tell you that loneliness is a leading cause of suicide.
It will hurt you physically. Fifty percent of the heart patients were lonely and depressed before they had a heart attack. Loneliness also shows up as fatigue, loss of appetite, or overeating.
It can cripple you spiritually. The irony is when a person experiences loneliness, he drops out of church — the very place he can go to get strength and encouragement. He drops out, sits at home, and drinks from the intoxicating cup of self-pity and has a hangover called loneliness.
Loneliness Is a Conquered Foe
Let me tell you Who the answer to loneliness is — Jesus! In the first place Jesus understands your loneliness. He knows how you feel. Isaiah 53:3 says, "He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows...." And John 1:11 says, "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not." He lived a life of loneliness. When He died upon the cross, He was suspended between heaven and earth. Because He had taken the sin of the world upon Himself, even God His Father, in holy righteousness, could not look upon Him. Even His disciples forsook Him. Jesus died alone.
You are precious to Him. Had there not been one more soul on Earth, He would have died for you alone. Through Jesus Christ you have significance. He knows the very hairs of your head. He wants you and needs you. He knows, He cares, and He understands.
He's always there. You may be lonely, but you're never alone. He promised never to leave us (Hebrews 13:5). If no one else understands, He does. If everybody else fails you, He will not. And when you get to the bottom line, He alone will meet the needs that you have. Jesus alone is the answer to loneliness.