Christmas. Many of us think of it as a time of celebration of our Lord’s birth; a time of joy, creating and reliving childhood memories; music, family, food, and holiday cheer. This is the one season that seems almost magical– the “most wonderful time of the year”. For a single parent, however, this can also be one of the most difficult times to endure.
While everyone else is posting pictures on social media and sharing tales of their family gatherings, celebrating all of their children’s funny antics, and what their spouse did to surprise them with the perfect gift, single parents often have to rejoice with those who rejoice, all while covering up the pain of loss and loneliness in their own lives. They can feel forgotten or disregarded. I’ve been there, and in many ways, I still hurt during the holidays too. But rather than taking on a spirit of defeat, let’s choose this year to celebrate Immanuel: “God with us”.
We can know Jesus is with us…
When there is an empty chair at the table because this is your first year as a single parent, He is God with us.
When we don’t have our children on Christmas Day because they are at the other parent’s house, He is God with us.
When everything seems to be caving in financially, and you can barely afford presents for your children, let alone anyone else, He is God with us.
When we are choking back the tears because the pain and shame seems too much to bear, He is God with us.
When we feel like everything around us is crumbling, including our faith, and no one even seems to notice, He is God with us.
The greatest gift of all…
Even if we relate to any of the examples above, we still have a GREATER reason to celebrate because of Jesus this year: He IS God with us! He is the perfect gift: buying us back into relationship with our heavenly Father. He fills the void no one else can. He reminds us that we are on a continual journey with Him and He never leaves us (even when we wander). He fills in all of our tangible needs, calms our hurts, and fills us with a peace this world will never provide.
The reason Jesus is Immanuel, “God with us”, is because He created us, has been where we are, and has cleared the path for us to be assured that not only is God with us– but we are with Him too.
Do not be afraid;
for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;
for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:10-11 NASB
Single parents, will you celebrate the holidays with joy this year, knowing that in all circumstances God is with us?
By Matt Haviland
Husband to Christy, Dad of one daughter
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of A Father’s Walk
Author of A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resource for Single Fathers,
Co-author of The Daddy Gap