Being away from your family during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays is horrible. Being single on top of this is even worse.
I’ve spent many holidays away from my family. The first Christmas was the toughest. I was 23 years old, living in Florida by myself and had a number of invitations to join other family units that day. And while I did spend some of the day with others, I managed to get one of the worst headaches of my life, no doubt from the stress of being alone on Christmas day.
Fortunately over the years, I believe that God has provided me with people whom I celebrated these major holidays. From hanging with a pastor’s family at Busch Gardens in 2001 to spending Thanksgiving with an ex-boyfriend and his parents in 2005, I’ve had some interesting opportunities, conversations and company while absent from my family. Days were less lonely because there were others willing to open their homes to me even though I wasn’t part of their family.
As a single person, especially when I lived in Florida, I would often be given the gift of sitting at the table with other families. This is a gift I hope I am able to pay back as the years progress. Through friends’ open doors and plentiful tables, I was able to feel less alone when my family lived 1,000 miles away.
I think most of us do a phenomenal job with making sure those who are hungry are fed. But what would it be like to not only feed those who are hungry but open a table to those who have no one in their lives?
Can you think of friends who may not have families in which to spend the holidays? How can we invite them to be our family for part of the day? That’s our responsibility as people of faith and as people with the gift of family. We are called to open ourselves up to those who may be alone on holidays and special occasions to be an honorary part of our families. Just like Jesus asked his followers “who is my mother and who are my brothers,” we are to expand our families to include others into our fold. Many of his followers had to rely on the generosity of others while on their ministry journey. How can we be like the families who opened their houses to Jesus and the early disciples and make sure they become parts of our families, even for a day or season?
What will you do this Thanksgiving or Christmas to make sure the widow, orphan, single guy or gal, newly divorced person or individual away from their family to make sure they are at your table too?
Me. Christmas 1998 in Florida at the age of 25. Sans family.