Catholic Divorce, Loneliness, & Believing this Christmas

Catholic Divorce, Loneliness, Christmas - red & green ball ornamentsThe Christmas season is one of my favorites. The air is crisp. The house is warm. The aroma of pine boughs woven through railings, of fires dancing in the hearth, and of cookies baking in the oven delights us. Laughter and singing and bells ring out joyfully. Even the colors, whether you favor traditional bright greens and reds or elegant silvers and golds, shine and glitter and glow chasing away darkness.

Except that for some, darkness is internal and hard to see. For some, darkness is in the loneliness they feel even when surrounded by others who haven’t got a clue what is going on inside their hearts.

For some, loneliness is found only in the tears shed behind closed doors when the kids drive off for a holiday with the wealthy Disney World Dad, when a step mom – who isn’t their mom at all – gets the cards they make at school, when the toys you bought just don’t compare to the gadgets their friends get, when their children come “home” from college but it’s dad’s weekend and “home” means you you’ll check the calendar and pray over and over again for the next 6 weeks or more that the next break will be “yours” and that your child will actually want to come home to you.

For some, it’s getting the kids back after their time away. It’s the cheerful, excited retelling of the awesome gifts they got at dad’s, the places they went to see, the fun they had. It’s the realization that the one big gift you could afford, the one gift you were really excited for them to receive was one of the many they got the day before. It’s the realization that you may have to explain why Santa brought the same gifts to your house that he brought to their father’s house again this year and hope they have not become so jaded by divorce that they believe you – after all, children are resilient they say.

For some, loneliness is going to Mass alone, returning to a dark empty house, wishing the children were there to make it a Home. It’s watching friends and family buying new outfits and readying themselves for holiday parties and New Year celebrations. It’s the invitation that sits magnetized to the front of the fridge that will never be used because it invites you and a “guest” and  you have no one to ask. It’s that kind of awkwardness. It’s checking your message box hoping that special someone texted back only to find he didn’t – again.

For some it’s the meant to be consoling but really kind of pathetic and heartbreaking tone loved ones use when they try to make you feel better. “Well, they’ll be with you next year.” “You’ll have them for Easter, right?” “Come out anyway! Who cares?” “You got them last year. It’s only fair.” And you wonder what about divorce and splitting up children is fair.

Being alone during the holiday season adds a dimension married folk just don’t get. Christmas and New Year celebrations compound already present questioning of self-worth and purpose. It compounds the desire to reach out to another person, any person for love and affection and simple humanity.

Being divorced and alone during the holidays threatens to blind one to the Hope of what Christmas and the new year brings.

But Christmas and the New Year are about Hope. They are about a New Beginning, a rebirth of God’s people, a Love for You that is unearthly, that is perfect, that is precious, and that must be treasured and handled gently because just because you’re fragile and doubting, lonely and tempted doesn’t mean you are not Loved.

Jesus Christ, the Strongest Man of any Man, came as a fragile baby and felt many of the same things you feel. We tend to forget that and remember only that He was and is God. We skip over questions He must have had growing up and discovering His calling. We lessen the fact that He too felt desolation, but He did.

And despite all, Jesus, a fragile child, came at Christmas to bring Love itself to you.

It was a new type of Love,

a Love that mankind had not experienced before,

a Love that sacrificed Himself for You,

a Love that was as fragile as you are now.

When it seems as though all the world is celebrating and everyone has someone to Love but you, remember the First Christmas and the gift of Pure Love that came just for you in the form, just like you, of a fragile child of God in a stable long ago.

Embrace His Love, His gift. Reach out like a fragile child clinging to a stuffed bear. Christmas is a time of magic of LOVE made real. Hope & Believe! 

God Bless and remember…

You are precious.

You are Loved.

You are not alone!

photo credit

I am thinking of hosting an online get together this holiday season, especially for women who are alone this holiday season. If you’re interested, please email me at for details. 

And, as always, thanks for commenting, liking, following, and sharing!

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