I can count on maybe three fingers the number of times I’ve been without immediate family at Christmas.
This year will be the third. My father will be in Florida, and my daughter is traveling abroad with a group from her college. It is such an easy opportunity to tell others you’ll be fine when they invite you for Christmas dinner that you don’t wish to intrude on their time. Their traditions. Their excitement of the day.
“It’s okay… really, it’s okay,” you say.
I’ve lived a life over the years when my family was simply spread apart, but we’d sacrifice what we needed to be together for at least part of Christmas. A couple of hours here. A Christmas lunch there. Brunch. Whatever it took.
Because you realize connection is important.
Remember the beginning of Covid? When the shutdowns and stay-at-home orders were an introvert’s dream? And we joked that even after we were allowed to visit stores again, we wished others would remain six feet from us?
For a while, I enjoyed the forced disconnect. The relapse in the race against the clock. The time spent at home. The time away from others. Just me and my dog on the couch. Oh, just me?
For a while, this felt ideal.
But even the most self-proclaimed introverts began craving human connection. Even if it meant standing on the side of the street while a friend stood at their front door so two people could talk. Even if it meant sitting outside at restaurants – chairs distanced. Even if it meant taking multiple Covid tests and quarantining for the required number of days so we could see our family during the holidays. We began to do what it took.
Human connection is synonymous with survival. We are not designed to live this life alone and without human contact. Through our trials, our loneliness, and even our joys, our hearts and minds are intended to share, to touch, to communicate, and to connect with others.
“Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)
While the introvert joke subsided after a few weeks – months? – during the beginning of Covid, we have seen since March 2020 that connectivity became crucial. Then… and now. And with the holidays upon us, it’s even more critical.
Maybe because we’ve survived so much together the past three years. Maybe because we realize how valuable our time is together. Maybe because we’ve finally realized how crucial connection is.
Jesus set the example for us of how important relationships are – with how He lived His life.
In Luke 10:1-2, Jesus sent His followers out in pairs to share the good news of God’s peace. But He didn’t send people out alone. He wanted everyone to have someone to travel and do work with. When God asks us to take the next step, He often uses other Christians to help us along the way. (NewSpring)
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. (Luke 10:1-2)
If you are alone this Christmas, don’t walk alone if you are invited in to connect. Don’t decline invitations because (enter your name, mine) dread small talk. Introductions. One more discussion about the weather.
Focus on the connectivity around you. The human interaction. The people God put into your life and the opportunities surrounding it: fellowship, new friendships.
Share the meal together. Share the time. Find the connection Jesus wants from and for us.