Dr. Oscar T. Moses
December 13, 2018
WHAT SHOULD THE LONELY DO AT CHRISTMAS?
God is with us!
During this time of year you can find more lonely people than ever. Loneliness can stem from many things and can be triggered by overdrinking, overeating, overspending and from being in over demand. It has been clinically proven that loneliness does not just make one sick but it can be deadly. People without adequate social interaction can die prematurely. Loneliness impairs immune function and boost inflammation, which can lead to type 2 diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. Loneliness has doubled in recent years: 40 % of adults in 2 surveys said they were lonely. Up from 20% in 1980. The Gallup Polls says that loneliness affects a third of the population and psychologist say that the figure is steadily on the rise. Loneliness can be one of those symptoms that if we leave unchecked can be deadly. The problem of loneliness arises because we don’t know how to treat it. When we feel hungry we eat. When we feel sleepy we lie down. If you break a bone you can treat that but how do you treat loneliness?
John Cacioppo, in talking about the Lethality of Loneliness,said that we don’t realize is that air pollution increases your chances of dying prematurely by 5%. Obesity increases your chances pf dying prematurely by 20%. Alcohol increases your chances of dying prematurely by 30% but living with loneliness increases your chances of dying by 45%.
It is not unusual for someone to be in a crowd and feel like the only person on earth. However, I have discovered that the true experts on loneliness are not the psychologist, census takers or the Gallup polls; they are the people that we meet each day that we sit next to in church, ride next to on busses, work with on our jobs and live in our homes.
There are a lot of lonely people in the world that feel as though they have no one. One of the loneliest times of the year is Christmas. However, for the Christian, this is the time of year that we reflect on the greatest gift given to the world; God is with us. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became like us so we would not have to make this pilgrimage alone.
Matthew 1:23: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
The Christian has the assurance of God’s Presence in times when loneliness surfaces.
What should the lonely do at Christmas?
- Reflect Within: -Deep reflection within musters a conversation with one’s soul. Psalm 42:1-3 (KJV) – As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? Reflection on God’s grace from your past can bring a sense of assurance of God’s never parting presence.
- Look Up: When horizontal relationships fail you the vertical relationship will fulfill you. Psalm 121:1-2 (KJV) – I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. One’s prayer life becomes crucial during times of loneliness. Prayer is a privilege given to us by God that strengthens our relationship with Him and restores us on a daily basis. One hymnologist reminds us of the friend we have in Jesus and “what needless pains we bare” when we do not pray.
- Reach Out: Your interaction with other people becomes the catalyst to combat loneliness. Resist the urge to cocoon yourself and cut off human interaction. Helps someone that needs your help and that gesture of kindness will take the attention off of you. “Help somebody and you will help yourself.” Isaiah 58:10 (KJV) – And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: Reaching out may challenge you to come out of your comfort zone but the effort and results are worth the challenge. Be certain to surround yourself with positive people who can affirm the presence of Christ in all believers. Finally, never forget that God is With Us!
Wishing you and your family a blessed and Merry CHRISTmas,
Dr. Oscar T. Moses