Next week is Thanksgiving. Christmas will be here before you know it. Then, as if you hopped into a time machine, that glittery ball will be dropping for New Year’s Eve and you will be hugging your close friends and family, ready to tackle the New Year with wide eyes and open hearts. This is the most wonderful time of the year, coming together to celebrate the birth of Christ and the goodness that is inherent in all of us. However, not everyone feels the same way about the season. For some, this is the loneliest time of the year, and we must do all we can as faithful Christians to help these unfortunate souls through tough times.
As much as we would like to celebrate our faith unencumbered this time of the year, we must keep in mind that it is our responsibility to spread the gospel and speak to those left in the dark. That is also an important part of celebrating our faith. Remember that loneliness is contagious, almost like gangrene, and it is prudent we amputate the unhealthy parts before it spreads to the whole of the body.
Yes, loneliness is a serious problem nowadays. Maybe we can point the finger at a rapidly moving world where faith in the Lord is a casualty on our road to the top. Maybe we can point the finger at our use of technology, which claims it brings us together, but in all actuality, seems to tear us apart. To get an idea of just how lonely the world seems nowadays, go to any online search engine and type in loneliness and you will come across dozens of news articles that deal with the subject. For example, a recent The Telegraph article deals with the loneliness epidemic in the UK and the stark new research that shows chances of friendless trebles by late middle age. In other words, 2.5 million men in that country have no close friends.
John Bingham writes, “A study of relationships in the UK found that men’s chances of friendlessness almost treble between their early 20s and late middle age. And married men are also significantly less likely than their single counterparts to say they have friends to turn to outside of the home. The new findings will add weight to warnings of a “crisis of masculinity” in Britain amid evidence of an alarming rise in suicide among men, especially those in middle age.”
This is clearly a big issue, not just in the UK but in the USA as well. It is not so much a crisis in masculinity but a crisis in faith. These men feel they have no one or nowhere to turn to. Their eyes are not on the bigger picture, that light at the end of the tunnel. The situation is so dire that there is even a charity campaign in the UK called “Calm,” which means Campaign Against Living Miserably.” It is a sad state of affairs when “living miserably” is a lifestyle, that there would have to be a campaign against it. Is the hopelessness that severe? Unfortunately, that seems to be the case. Such a situation becomes even more severe during the holiday season as many of the men feel the heavy weight of loneliness on their hearts. The more they hear the world around them caroling, the more they become aware of their misery. They certainly could use a bit of assistance as we move towards the New Year, but what can we do?
Well, we need to turn to the Bible. As Deuteronomy 31:6 points out, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” We must do our very best to remind the people around us that they are indeed not alone. We need to anoint their hearts and minds with gospel oils. A heartfelt conversation with them or a few nice words here and there will go a long way in making them feel a little less alone.
Remember, “the use of anointing oils spreads the love and humility of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Anointing with oil and the laying on of hands is a ministry of love and hope, a touch of Jesus through us to another of His Magnificent Love.” We must apply our knowledge of anointing oils to everyday conversation. The holiday season should be about healing, because that is the first step towards celebrating our faith.