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God's big message at Christmas: 'You are not alone.'

Op-ed
AntonioGuillem/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Loneliness a terrible thing.

And as is often pointed out, at no time is loneliness more poignantly felt by scores of people than at Christmas.

If there's an upside to the whole COVID fiasco, it's that many of us had the opportunity last Christmas to experience a little bit of what that's like. Millions of people had to stay separated from family — and we quickly realized that it's not so great.

And it should have served as a wake-up call for those who call themselves followers of Jesus.

Though Christmas 2020 made the reality of loneliness stark for many of us, we all knew that folks in our lives were hurting and alone before the pandemic struck — we just didn't want to talk about it.

Because putting yourself out there for others might mean you have to engage, invest. And that takes away from "me time."

But the truth is, we each know sad, lonely, broken people in a dark world who need us to move up next to them and their screwups and hangups, put our arms around them, and hear us say, "I'm with you. Whatever you need, I'm here."

And this is possible for us because 2,000 years ago, God saw a sad, lonely, broken people in a dark world who needed Him, so he moved up next to them and their screwups and hangups, put His arms around them, and told them, "I'm with you. Whatever you need, I'm here."

What makes loneliness at Christmas so extra tragic is that it's the opposite of the "Immanuel, God with us" message of Christmas.

Take all of the accoutrement of Christmas away, what do you have? Christmas.

Take Christmas away, and none of that stuff matters — it wouldn't even exist.

The reason bells ring ...

... halls are decked ...

... figgy pudding is served ...

... Scrooges and grinches are redeemed ...

... angels sing ...

... Bing Crosby tap dances with Danny Kaye ...

... is because God himself came to Earth.

So that we wouldn't be alone.

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