Luke 2:16 – So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in a manger.
As the holidays are upon us, what do you do if your family is gathering three hours away? It takes so much to just function and take care of the needs of your chronic pain or an extended illness.
You might be okay with having to be alone, unless your family can’t understand how you don’t muster up enough strength despite of your chronic pain.
There’s also emotional pain and loss involved. You feel yourself falling deeper into the valley of depression.
The holidays can be difficult even if you don’t have a chronic condition:
Yes, it hurts to lug the box out of your closet which holds your Christmas treasures. But you don’t feel like decorating. All you can think about is how unfair it is that you can’t gather with your family those 3 hours away.
And your chronic pain kicks up a notch as you reminisce about days gone by. You think of the Christmas’ with your little ones hanging ornaments on the lower branches of the tree. With a manger scene and the effort that it took to get everything out, you loved the memories you were making.
But what about this Christmas? What kind of memories would you make? You’d probably visit your bathroom more often caused by the extreme pain you’re in. Is it possible to feel in the Christmas mood?
First, Christmas isn’t about the decorations. It’s about focusing on Christ’s birth. He should be the center of our thoughts. This should at least make you feel grateful for the baby who would become a man and eventually die for our sins.
That’s why we lug that manger scene box out so that you can look upon it, even if no one in your family will see it. It’s about you and remembering. Is it so bad that you can’t travel? Maybe they’d give you a phone call and all say, “Merry Christmas,” to you. That would make your heart beat with love.
And don’t forget to mail your adult children money for them to put towards a Christmas gift.
Here are some more ideas on how to make Christmas a time of joy even if you battle chronic pain, on buzzfeed.com, in their article, “A Guide to spending Christmas Alone.” Some of their suggestions include: Many people are alone at Christmas but it’s okay to be alone. You can choose to do some of the traditional things you would do if you were with your family and create some new ones. Being alone may make you feel sad but create your own new Christmas traditions. Here’s some ideas: work on your hobby, eat yummy food, or binge-watch a show or movie series. Whatever you choose to do, try to not let chronic pain ruin your Christmas.
And just like the Bible verse above says. The shepherds hurried to see the baby that the angels had told them. You, too, can hurry off to see the baby. Turn on some Christmas music and if you find a song you like, turn the volume up on your CD player and sing loudly as you find yourself not so lonely anymore.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.