views and thoughts on topics, especially ones pertaining to christianity – with an emphasis on how most christians either ignore or discriminate against unmarried christians – and how christians have turned marriage and parenting into IDOLS and how there is no true support for sexual purity, virginity, or celibacy among christians – this is a blog for me to vent; I seldom permit dissenting views. I don't debate dissenters ————-
God’s Big Message at Christmas: You Are Not Alone, by Chris Field (Churches Need To Reach Out More to the Singles In Their Communities)
I have mixed feelings about posting a link to this (way below).
I know if you are literally alone – if you are a never married, divorced, or widowed adult, and you either don’t have children, or you are not on good terms with your biological family (or many of them are deceased or out of state), that it may be hard to feel positive about the message below.
I know it can be difficult to hear Christians writing “you’re not alone, God is with you” if you are, as I said, literally, physically alone in your apartment or home.
It would be nice to have an actual, breathing human sitting across from you, rather than have to rest in the idea that there’s this God in Heaven who cares about you, and have to take that on faith.
I do think Christians (churches especially) need to step up to the plate more and make more of an effort to include those adults who live alone, who aren’t married, who don’t have a nuclear family of their own…
Rather than doing things like over-focusing on nuclear families, and closing churches down on Christmas Day (yes, some churches have been known to (Link): withhold services on Christmas Day, because they assume every one is at home watching their biological child and spouse opening presents under the tree).
So, what are you members of churches out there doing to reach out to the lonely and single in your areas?
Churches, you can stop it any time now with slobbering all over the married- with- children couples already. The “Nuclear Family” has received the “lion’s share” of affection and attention from churches and Christian culture for far too long now.
Time to start acknowledging the single and childless among you.
Churches have been losing in attendance in the last so many years – if they want to increase attendance, it might help if they start focusing on single adults.
And as is often pointed out, at no time is loneliness more poignantly felt by scores of people than at Christmas.
If there’s an upside to the whole COVID fiasco, it’s that many of us had the opportunity last Christmas to experience a little bit of what that’s like. Millions of people had to stay separated from family — and we quickly realized that it’s not so great.
And it should have served as a wake-up call for those who call themselves followers of Jesus.
…Whatever the reason for being alone, there are ways that you can feel less lonely.
Accept Being Alone
Accepting being alone doesn’t necessarily mean staying home and feeling lonely. There are many things that you can do on Thanksgiving that put you in the company of people, or connect you with people, while you are still alone.
Make it a productive day and get your house organized. Clean out closets, get the paperwork in order, make to-do lists, and generally get control of the little details in your life. You will end the day with a feeling of accomplishment, and the ability to focus on your relationships with others because your life is manageable.
Meet the most vitriolic Valentine’s Day haters around the world
If you are single and bummed out over being single on Valentine’s Day, I’ll share one thing with you that makes it easier.
In my family, Valentine’s was never presented as a “romantic” holiday. My mother used to give me candy in a heart shaped box on Valentine’s when I was a kid, I usually got a card from her, and my father sometimes gave me cards.
Over the years, I’ve sent Valentine’s Day cards to an Aunt of mine (she lives alone), my sister, and I’ve bought flowers for friends. In college, a platonic buddy of mine gave me red roses and a Valentine’s Day card.
Valentine’s Day does NOT have to be about erotic or romantic love, I don’t care WHAT Hallmark cards say.
If you view February 14th as a day to express your fondness of, or non-romantic love for, friends, co-workers, and family, it’s not so bad. I actually kind of like Valentine’s Day. It’s a sweet little holiday without the stress of major ones, like Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Ironically, the only aspect of Valentine’s I’ve hated in the past was the insistence of OTHERS to hype it into a romantic holiday.
I remember in high school, I never got any flowers from guys. I always felt bad when the schools I went to had a flower drive, and in every class, at least one girl would get dozens of them (presumably from male admirers), which made you feel terrible if you got zero.
All the commercials showing a husband buying his wife a diamond pendant for Valentine’s Day and that sort of advertising – that is what rubs me the wrong way.
I wasn’t really planning on doing a Valentine’s Day post this year, as I’ve done the last couple of years. But I saw this:
Tongue-in-cheek “Anti-Valentine’s Day” parties are de rigueur in cities from (Link): Los Angeles to (Link): Singapore these days. But in some other parts of the world, opposition toward the holiday runs much deeper and is tangled up in politics, religion, and national identity.
A Marxist group called Kakumei-teki himote doumei (“Revolutionary Alliance of Men That Woman Are Not Attracted To”) is calling on supporters to march against the holiday in Tokyo’s Shibuya district.
The group, founded in 2006 by a man named Katsuhiro Furusawa after he was dumped by his girlfriend (Link): states on its website: “The blood-soaked conspiracy of Valentine’s Day, driven by the oppressive chocolate capitalists, has arrived once again. In order to create a brighter future, we call for solidarity among our unloved comrades, so that we may demonstrate in resolute opposition to Valentine’s Day and the romantic industrial complex.”
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.
A few excerpts (please use the link above to visit their site to read the whole thing):
This season I’ve heard an excessive emphasis, in various Christian circles, on spending time with family at Christmas. We should all be with family on Christmas – period. That is what it is all about! Much of this has come across (to me at least) as potentially alienating or could actually make some people feel lonely, isolated, or guilty. The church unfortunately seems to excel at alienating people. I wish it would stop. Could we stop assuming everyone fits in the same little box or life situation?
What do I mean exactly? Of course, I am not opposed to spending time with family at Christmas! It certainly is a time to connect with loved ones. But is it necessary to word it in such a way that implies everyone must be exclusively with family? We should encourage people to look around themselves, and include others who might not have anyone to be with on Christmas.
This is not the time to be cliquey and focus inward on our little family. Look outward. Who out there might appreciate being included? Who can you welcome to the table?
Isn’t that an important part of the Christmas message? Jesus came to bring salvation to all people – to expand the faith to include “gentiles” or those of all nationalities or cultures.
Hey, if these people can find someone, there’s hope for you yet. Maybe.
1. Thanks to this news, you no longer have the comfort of telling yourself, “Well, at least I won’t be the last person on earth to get married.”
[photo of newspaper headline announcing the marriage of murderer Charles Manson to a 26 year old woman]
2. Single homosexuals, even a guy who spent years hating on gays got married TO A MAN before you did.
[screen shot announcing the marriage of homosexual former leader of an ex-homosexual ministry gets married to another man]
6. Even this charmer managed to find a wife
8. Jeez, some of us haven’t even had our starter tree marriages yet.
11. How lovely that they found one another.
15. Idiot Husband Calls 999 (police -911) Because Wife Won’t Give Him the TV Remote
I’m not sure if the woman who wrote this is single or married.
The odd thing about this woman’s page is that while on the one hand she seems to try to be encouraging singles, it comes across as a form of “singles shaming” to me. Maybe that was not her intent, but that’s how it came across to me.
Here are a few excerpts:
by M. Davies
So you’re spending Valentine’s Day alone and feeling sad about it. What do you do? Curl up on the couch and cry? Stare forlornly into the window of a restaurant packed with couples who are sharing the same long spaghetti noodle like the dogs in Lady and the Tramp? Well, knock it off, sister. You’re a grown-ass woman — W-O-M-Y-N — and it’s time that you figured out that Valentine’s Day only matters when you make it matter. SO STOP MAKING IT MATTER.
There was a time when I used to get really sad about being alone on Valentine’s Day. That time was high school, when I was too young and dumb to know better.
…But maybe your friends are different than mine and they do make you feel bad about being alone on Valentine’s Day. Well, I hate to break it to you, but you have some shitty friends. That or it’s projection on your part, in which case this probably goes deeper than Valentine’s Day and chances are you’ll be sad on February 15th, 16th and maybe even when you finally get a significant other because, guess what, they won’t solve all your problems either.
That lady’s “buck up, buckeroo about being single on Valentine’s Day” page read more like “shut up you whiny cry baby whiner.” If she was trying to encourage singles who are unhappy about being single, I’m guessing it had the opposite effect on most people who read that page.
In what might be the greatest-ever Valentine’s Day prank, a group of Shanghai singles purchased every odd-numbered seat for a Feb. 14 showing of Beijing Love Story. Their sole purpose: disrupting lovey-dovey dates. “Want to see a movie on Valentine’s Day?” asks a message posted by an organizer. “Sorry, you’ll have to sit separately. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
Tell that to the millions of Chinese who will be spending the day in the absence of a date. With a population of 1.3 billion, China naturally has hefty share of the world’s singletons.
This is compounded by a dramatic gender imbalance.
Thanks to the one-child policy and preference for sons, there are an estimated 34 million ‘surplus men’ in China — a whole lot of lonely hearts.
Luckily, the country’s unattached have a history of being awesome; they’ve even got their own day. Since the 1990s, Nov. 11 has been celebrated as Singles Day. It was picked because the numerals — 11/11 — are said to look like ‘bare branches,’ a Chinese term for bachelors. It started as an occasion to get together for a meal, but has since morphed into a multi-billion dollar orgy of online shopping.
You’re in a sugar coma. You delete Instagram off your phone because you’ve seen too many couple-kissing selfies. Too many pictures of flowers. Too many hashtags that say #myboyfriendisthebest #hefinallyputaringonit #ilovevalentinesday
2. Being single is better than being in a sucky relationship.
No matter who wielded the breakup hammer, hanging onto a bad relationship is never the better choice. By being out of a relationship, you’ve saved valuable time. Time you can now spend finding a much better mate.
(CNN) — There was that distant-feeling New Year’s kiss at midnight. Valentine’s Day, a holiday based on setting hearts aflutter, was full of awkward pauses and glances over soufflé at the person you used to love. Come March, it’s time to turn over a new leaf.
In recent years, January has earned the nickname “Divorce Month” — a less appealing title than National Pet Month (May) or National Honey Month (September), though divorce can surely be both hairy and sticky.
While marital psychologists and divorce lawyers say January’s more accurate description would be “I’m Starting to Research My Options Month,” they agree there is some accuracy in the nomenclature.
Perhaps the only thing worse than being single on February 14 when you want to be in a relationship is being in a relationship where your partner thinks a dinner at McDonald’s suffices as romantic (I will give this a pass, however, if it’s a situation where a parent is taking a kid out for the holiday, or something like that):
Two Tampa locations have started taking reservations for Valentine’s Day and they are pouring in.
“We have more reservations than we expected already, but we will make it work and keep everyone happy and smiling, because that is what we do best,” store manager Ernesto Izquierdo told WTSP. “And remember this does not have to be romantic, it could be a dad taking his daughter for Valentine’s Day Dinner, and it will be special if they share it with us.”
The fast food restaurants already have 25 reservations between the two of them.
…”We will have a section reserved for those Valentine’s Day diners and the tables will be decorated with table cloths, and flowers and hearts everywhere. The servers will be nicely dressed and take everyone’s order.”
The staff at the second location is also excited for the big day and they plan on decorating tables with flowers and champagne glasses.
“The Oconee County County Sheriff’s Office announces that Valentines Day has been CANCELLED from a line North of I-16 to the Georgia/Tennessee border,” Sheriff Scott Berry posted on the department’s Facebook page. “Men who live in the designated ‘NO VALENTINE’S DAY ZONE’ are exempt from having to run out and buy lottery scratchers and Hershey bars from the corner stores until February 18, 2014, due to ice, snow, freezing rain.”
Berry told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution late Wednesday that roads likely won’t be safe enough for travel Thursday as frozen precipitation continues to pile up.
“It’s going to be difficult to shop on the 13th, our traditional shopping day,” Berry said.
Procrastinators may find that a snowy Valentine’s will put their plans on ice—or at least, result in one heck of a no-gift excuse.
Florists and other retailers say they’re racing to execute contingency plans ahead of the snow and ice storm moving its way up the East Coast. Meteorologists have called the storm “catastrophic,” and expect it to trigger widespread power outages and dangerous travel conditions as it dumps ice and snow from Georgia to Maine through Friday—Valentine’s Day.
Translation: Plan for potentially delayed gift deliveries and reduced chances of making it out for last-minute shopping or a Valentine’s dinner. That could put a big dent in spending for the holiday, which the National Retail Federation had expected could top $17.3 billion.
The huge emphasis on Valentine’s Day love can feel so intense that not only do you feel lonely on this day, but you may also feel left out of something that seems to be universally happening for everyone else.
When this happened to me, it really surprised me. After all, I was supposed to be one of those women who felt okay being single. I’m sure it’s no surprise that lots of men and women find Valentine’s Day one of the hardest days of the year to get through.
… So instead of simply remixing an old post, I decided to create a holiday-focused scorecard. Think of it like a seasonal ale they put nutmeg in during January. It only comes around this time of year. Without further ado, I give you:
Being single during Christmas at church:
5. You good friends hold secret “couples holiday dinners” they don’t invite you to because they don’t want you to feel awkward. = + 3 points
6. They wince when the world’s worst commercials, Jared’s jewelry, come on TV and some horrible actress gets engaged right in front of you. = +4 points
8. They try desperately to find the silver lining and say things like, “It must be nice not to have to shop for anyone. My husband is so hard to get gifts for!” = +2 points
10. They feel slightly guilty for watching romantic Christmas movies in your presence, like “Love Actually.” = +3 points
11. Someone tells you, “Being single doesn’t have to mean being alone.” = +2 points
12. Your friends have stopped saying “When you get married” because they’re not sure you’ve got it in you. = +1 point
21. People spend an exorbitant amount of time telling you marriage success stories, e.g. “The instant my friend Jill stopped looking for a boyfriend this incredible guy came along and swept her off her feet.” = + 1 point
22. You’re divorced and someone gives you the incredibly encouraging advice, “God will bring you someone who will overlook your past.” = + 2 points
24. Someone makes a horrible joke about how this Christmas, you got the “gift of celibacy.” = +10 points
25. Married friends feel compelled to over tell you how difficult marriage is so that you don’t feel like it’s a winter wonderland of constant awesomeness. = +3 points
32. People try to romanticize the tremendous amounts of free time you must have during the holidays without a family to bother you. = +3 points
Some select reader comments:
DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 3:46 PM
As the oldest grandchild and neice on both sides of my family I have recently been given the guilt trip from my grandparents: “We might not have many more Cristmases left, we need some grandchildren!”
DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:12 PM
Yup, I started to hear similar comments in the last couple years (and I’m only 24!). Like from my grandfather “Do you have a boyfriend yet? You need to get married before I die.” As if boyfriends magically appear out of force of sheer will.
DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 3:48 PM
“It’s so courageous of you to decorate your apartment for the holidays and send out Christmas cards, as if you had a family”.
Yep. From a family member.
I don’t know how many ‘points’ is equal to spending Christmas afternoon in my bedroom crying. Alone, of course. Maybe +20?
DECEMBER 15, 2013 AT 10:17 AM
So true! My grandfather gives all my (married) siblings/cousins money (triple digits) for Christmas. Being single, I get $0. Its not so much about the money, but not being considered as “equally deserving of a gift.”
DECEMBER 15, 2013 AT 1:01 PM
Me too, Carly! Me too! The exact same thing happens to me.
DECEMBER 15, 2013 AT 3:43 PM
Same here!! I always think, I have bills too and nobody to help me pay them! Am I not worthy of a check at Christmas just because I didn’t provide a son-in-law and grandchildren??
DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:28 PM
[In response to someone who says she hates #21 on the list, 21 reads,
21. People spend an exorbitant amount of time telling you marriage success stories, e.g. “The instant my friend Jill stopped looking for a boyfriend this incredible guy came along and swept her off her feet.” = + 1 point]
As if God is dangling a gift in front of you and will only give it to you when you stop reaching for it or wanting it! So screwy, but I can’t tell you how many people have thrown this at me in my 35 years of singleness.
DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:53 PM
I cannot stand #21 or any spin-offs that deal with, “Well, when you focus fully on God, he’ll be right beside you!”
It implies that all married people are somehow on a separate spiritual playing field than singles. Like they are the first-string players that know how to focus on Jesus better or something—AND FOR THAT, THEY GET A REWARD!
But not you single people. Go read your ESV study bible and pray a little more. Better luck next season!
DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 5:20 PM
I’m sick of people saying I should get more involved in church and that I will meet him there. I already go to church and have been for a looong time. No dice. Sitting between my parents each Sunday doesn’t really help either, huh?
DECEMBER 15, 2013 AT 12:15 AM
I attend a church and live in a town that has very few single Christian men. My church has none. And I am one of two single ladies myself. Getting more involved will not do anything.
DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 5:22 PM
That is fantastic, haha! Yeah, it’s a very good point. A lot of people make comments that imply you’re single because you somehow aren’t putting God first in your life, no matter what you’re actually doing.
DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:10 PM
ST.WIPS: Stupid Things Well-Intentioned People Say.
“It’ll happen when…” (and then fill in the blank with any sort of random statement like “when you’re least expecting it…” blah blah blah)
“God is your husband!”
“Maybe you should…” (and then fill in the blank with any sort of random advice that is usually a little bit mean. I usually want to respond, “Maybe you should kiss my grits.”
“Have you prayed about it?” Oh! Now there’s a brilliant idea that I’ve never considered!
Jon–How many points does one get for being single, alone, and OVERSEAS at Christmas? About 100?
DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 9:51 PM
Blechk! Im 35, and married now but wow, did i hate that “youre not putting urself in the right situations…” Its bs im sorry. I was told for many years my husband would come to my church one day. And the non-church people i knew were telling me i needed to go to club to find a man. Otherwise i was dooomed.
Well every1 was wrong. I just kept living my life and future hubby came to my WORK PLACE. LOL so there!
And i vowed when i got married i will not become “one of them”. And im didnt. Godmhelp me if i ever do…
DECEMBER 16, 2013 AT 12:58 PM
I tell the Church ladies that there is no one single my age at church, so I’m gonna start going to the bars to find a husband.
That shuts them up quick.
DECEMBER 16, 2013 AT 3:20 PM
I once told a girl at my Bible study that I’d been keeping my hair long because a) I’ve been enjoying doing fun updos with it and b) I read that guys prefer longer hair (which is true) . . . but I’d also considered doing a cute pixie cut. I’m just afraid that if I did everyone would think I was a butch lesbian, so if I get to 35 and I’m still not married I might go ahead and give the pixie a shot, since by then I expect most people will think I’m a butch lesbian anyway . . . LOL. (It’s been thought before, even when I’ve had long hair . . . I’m sorry to say).
DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:17 PM
Yup, some of these are accurate already. Like the lady at church who always asks me if I have a boyfriend yet because she has to know as soon as it happens. I have a few friends who like to tell me how lucky I am to be single and how guys are so much more trouble than they’re worth. Yeah, so nice to be told that from the person who has been married or in a relationship for years to the girl who has never had a bf. They all mean well, but there comes a point when every single piece of “advice” or “encouragement” someone gives you about your love life becomes kind of insulting and aggravating. I despise those cliched comments from people.
[In reply to a married about what marrieds can say to singles]
DECEMBER 16, 2013 AT 12:52 AM
Everything else about my life? Because part of what makes it so frustrating/hurtful, is those questions are essentially implying, “it doesn’t really matter what you’ve done or accomplished. Your life isn’t truly valid until you’re in a relationship/married/have kids. Didn’t you know you are defined by your marital status?”
I have a job I’ve worked hard for and really enjoy (and I work with some really fascinating stuff, which I might tell you about if you showed interest in knowing something beyond my 30-second job summary).
I have a master’s degree.
I’ve traveled all over the world.
I have friends and family all over the country/world.
I’ve been remodeling my house over the last 3 years.
I’m in a book club and love to read.
I enjoy working in my yard/garden.
I love to bake and cook.
I love going to the theater and trying new restaurants.
And yes, I have two cats. And they entertain me to no end.
But yet somehow, there are people who can’t think of anything to ask me about or comment on except my relationship status?!
So, what would encourage me and make me feel appreciated? Showing interest in what my life IS (everything listed above), rather than what it might be lacking (a significant other). Celebrating/congratulating me on what I’ve accomplished (job, education, house reno, etc.), rather than focusing on what I haven’t (a husband). Recognizing that I and my life are legitimate and acceptable right now and as is – just as acceptable and legitimate as they would be with a spouse, not just as “it’s nice to see you’re using your time well until you meet someone.”.
Hope that helps!
DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 5:28 PM
Yes! I also stopped telling stories to my parents that involves and single guy within 20 years of me. They completely tone-out what I’m saying and become fixed on that guy. “So you just said Jake, who is Jake, how old is he? Are you interested, is he cute?” And they remember him and check-in on how “jake and I ” are doing for months.
DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:25 PM
Ooo, wait, can we add watching all the Christmas engagement posts starting to pop up on facebook with the nauseatingly sappy captions??? Seriously.
DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:25 PM
Being a widow, I get a lot of “at least…” statements, such as “at least you had the time together that you did. “.
True, but it doesn’t make it any less lonely. These are often preceded by “Wow, the holidays much be so hard for you, being by yourself and all.”
Thanks for pointing that out, I hadn’t noticed.
Which is immediately followed by the suggestion that I sign up to volunteer at all 11 services over four days.
Just because I’m single doesn’t mean I don’t have a life.
DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:25 PM
This cracked me up, especially after the question I got yesterday: “Have you tried Christian Mingle yet?”
DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 6:40 PM
Ah yes. My old friend. I saw an advert for said company online the other day (thanks, targeted FB advertising) with the terrible, theologically worrying and mildly threatening slogan “Worried about going to heaven alone? Maybe not.” As Charlie Brown says, good grief.
Should definitely be added to the points system.
DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:29 PM
I’m divorced and in my thirties. At this point, I hear comments about how God will “restore the years the locusts have eaten.”
Little do they know that I’m on a wild adventure and I see no locusts in my history.
I was just starting to write a blog post about Christmas as a single woman! I will have to link to this post.