The Neglected God Calls Us to Reach Out to the Neglected at Christmas: God with Us and Them—Immanuel
You have heard the saying, “Misery loves company.” How about loneliness, or is that a contradiction in terms? Still, I thought I would reflect upon the subject given that Christmas is likely one of the loneliest days of the year.
How can this be given that Christmas is considered perhaps the most joyous and communal holiday for a great number of people across the world? No doubt, all the emphasis on joy and community highlights all the more the social isolation many people feel.
The (Link): Daily Mail reports that according to Great Britain’s most senior casualty doctor, Prof. Keith Willett, the fear exists in the UK that “Beleaguered A&E [Accident & Emergency] departments face being overwhelmed at Christmas by lonely, elderly people.”
Britain’s Care Minister Norman Lamb called upon Britons to care for their neighbors who experience isolation so that the UK does not become a “neglectful society” (For more on the situation, refer here to the BBC’s story).
The problem does not only exist in the United Kingdom. It also exists here in the States, where according to one of my students serving as a chaplain in a retirement center, we often warehouse our elderly.
The problem is not sequestered to the elderly either. Single people without families and networks of friends, as well as other isolated persons, feel the weight of loneliness. They are not alone. We are not alone.
The Lord Jesus himself experienced loneliness during his sojourn here on earth, as did his parents, no doubt, given the child they raised. Perhaps we can find comfort in knowing that the Lord himself experienced loneliness, in part so that he could identify with us.
Jesus was a man of sorrows, familiar with suffering (Isaiah 53:3).
….As we celebrate Jesus’ birth this season, may we celebrate others, especially those who like Jesus endure isolation. In view of the neglected God incarnate who does not neglect others, may we not warehouse them or allow them to give birth to increased loneliness outside the inn. May we join Jesus by reaching out to them with a warm smile, a phone call, a card, a visit, a meal, an embrace: “God with us, Immanuel.” God with us with them, Immanuel.
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site