"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Advent Day Eleven - December 7

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:1-2)

What a happy and joyous day it was when the Magi set out to find the newborn King of the Jews. Why wouldn’t it be? A centuries old promise was coming true. The Messiah was here. The people would be freed from their domination by the Romans. No longer slaves and servants. The Magi knew how important this baby was and was coming to worship Him and to bring precious gifts. Everyone was happy, well, except for Herod, the present king of the Jews. When he received the visit from the Magi, his well-known paranoia immediately went into hyper-drive to protect his throne for himself and his heirs. But, that is a story for another time. Today, I am thinking about two things. One is that King Herod was not happy at Jesus’ birth. The other is that I think it rather bittersweet that the description given “the King of the Jews” used at his birth, was also used at His death – as it was the description written on the plaque hung over Jesus’ head on the cross. The King of the Jews.

Christmas is not a wonderfully happy time for many people. The memories of family and friends who have passed away, or the relationship has been strained is always in our minds. Those who have lost jobs, homes, financial difficulties make gift-buying hard or impossible lead to memories of better Christmases in the past. Loneliness is always more prevalent during any holiday season, but especially at Christmas. Single adults can really be hit hard by this, even if they are a single parent. Often, their children are spending part of all of Christmas with the other parent and you feel kinda out of place with no where to go.

I have spent the majority of my adult life in student ministry. I love student ministry, yet do not have a place of service at the current time. It is easy for me to look at “my students” who have grown up and may have families of their own now and be lonely for those days of nightly romps of mischief, times of serious discussions over tacos or pizza about what God wants from them….and what they want from God, traveling on choir tours, student retreats, camps, ski trips, all that goes with that ministry. But, God fills that void. Sometimes. There are nights when even though I am at home with family (my mom and brother live with me), yet I do feel very lonely for times past. Not that my life now isn’t a hoot and half, ‘cause it is, but sometimes the “what was” thoughts creep in.

As a single adult, and as a guy, and as a minister, I feel that I have to do what I must to keep living the example Christ taught us. Yet, sometimes during this season it is hard. I’m blessed with good friends, yet sometimes I want some best friends. Someone to call at 10pm to make a Waffle House run with. Someone to head to the beach with for a weekend…at a moment’s notice. Someone to hike a trail with or something. Sometimes, singleness is just tough. Churches don’t really embrace a single adult, especially after they turn 30. I don’t know why, but they don’t. And there are thousands of us who need a church to plan and be intentional about a single adult ministry…not a dating service….a ministry. Oops, getting on my soapbox now.

Yet, Christ came to this earth and knows what it is like. He was single, even though the scriptures don’t give a lot of stories about that. But, I know that He was and He faced the same things we do. That gives me hope. And a peace. And a feeling of not being so alone. Let me encourage you to pray for each other these next few weeks as we head toward Christmas Day. Someone out there needs a lift.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!


At 6:15 PM, Blogger CWMartin said...

You are so right about the failure to involve singles. I'm not singling out any one church- I am currently outside a church for various reasons- but I do remember that the "social life" of the church seems to be concentrated in groups of couples, and singles can feel left-out or "on the make." Especially this time of year, when lights aren't a replacement for companionship. I have been blessed to not be in that situation anymore, but realize how easy it would be to be right back there.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger scatterbrained said...

I have been in the predicament of not belonging to the singles due to my age and not belonging to the couples groups because I am single. It can sometimes be disheartening to always be the only single in my classes. Even now, almost all of my friends are married couples.

It is through my singleness that God opened the door to me for women's ministry, however, I am usually the only single in a group of married women.

There are some disadvantages to small town living, not many singles my age.


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