Let him who cannot be alone beware of community… Let him who is not in community beware of being alone… Each by itself has profound perils and pitfalls. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation and despair.
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
You still have time.
There are people you know all around you that are going to be by themselves on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. They may not have family or they may be away from home. They may not be believers: They could be atheists, Hindus, Jews, or Muslims.
Regardless, no one likes to be alone, especially when everyone else is with family and friends celebrating. And this year, probably in a way that is different from many years in the past, it’s easy for people to feel alone in our culture even if people are all around them.
So, it’s not too late. Invite an international or a friend with no family to join you as you celebrate. It will be a great chance to love and serve someone. It will also be a great chance to talk about the greatness of Jesus and the reason you celebrate.
Christmas is in two days. But you can still impact a life. Invite someone to join you.
Today I met with a cross section of men from our house church network to talk about and work through issues that are affecting our churches. The discussion was great and one of the things that I loved about it was the mutuality. Quickly it became clear that there was no guru in the group and that everyone could learn from each other. And it was this back and forth, giving and receiving that allowed for hearts to open up, ministry to happen, and for us to be able to rely on each other a little bit more.
I’m continually amazed how much humility and not lifting yourself up above another allows for more ministry to happen, not less. So often the church thinks it needs to be the other way around. Most of the time we are caught up trying to prove we are at least as spiritual, if not more so, than the person next to us. When I try and prove how much better I am than others, not much ministry happens. And yet, when I humble myself and live from the place of being as weak or weaker than everyone else in the room, that’s when people become vulnerable and real service to each other happens.
During my day, I had the opportunity to share with a brother about some limits he was artificially putting on himself. And because we were listening to each other, I was able to hear his heart and he was able to receive when I gently pushed on him to reconsider some of the limits he was placing on himself.
Friends, we desperately need brothers and sisters like this in the body of Christ. We need people who know us, can see us better than we see ourselves, and can help us get out of the ruts that we sometimes find ourselves in. The body grows itself by learning how to speak the truth to each other in love. This is so hard to do but its one of the main ways the Bible describes us growing into the image of Christ.
Beloved, find friends who will tell you the truth in love. Find brothers and sisters in Christ who will call you forward into who God has called you to be. It’s a way forward in an age that wants to deceive us and isolate us. Don’t give in to the shallow relationships that are only about competition and vanity. Don’t settle for relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ that are only an inch deep. There’s transforming relationships out there that are rooted and Christ and they are worth pursuing.
It’s worth it. I don’t promise it, but Jesus does.