A Children’s Christmas Carol

On Mondays, we pray and fast for lunch or longer for women to be softened–trusting God to work in their lives, for men to be emboldened to walk in to relationships, and for God to give the gift of marriage to those who desire it.

The world is especially filled with trite sayings from the fourth Thursday in November until at least the second Tuesday January. It’s the most “wonderful” time of the year. Really? Having fake Christmas cheer shoved in my face is indeed wonderful. Oh, it is hard to be single at this time of year. Yes, and I’m completely unable to enjoy red and green ribbon and icing sugar cookies. Not to mention the fact that the other eleven months of the year are a complete cakewalk. For most of us, and definitely for me, Christmas is both wonderful and difficult.

Although this year, I don’t feel especially burdened by being the lone lass at the party, there have been times in the past and fleeting moments this year during the merriment, the music, lights, and the gatherings that I feel like I’m metaphorically a stranger in the dark, outside the world of relationships, while married people are laughing together, in warm well-lit rooms.

I broke one of my cardinal rules this year. I listened to Christmas before Thanksgiving. I felt like I entered a new room–I am the Christmas music rebel. (I know. Some of you are probably saying, “please, I start listening in July.”)

After getting a few jabs and scratches digging through the passenger-side seat pocket, I found my Getty’s Christmas album. I popped it in the CD player, and the Irish fiddle immediately caused involuntary rhythmic finger twitching.  When the fiddle died away, the Getty’s children’s Christmas carol started playing. The delicate melody and simple lyrics brought me to tears.

Jesus, joy of the highest heaven,
Born as a little baby
Under a wondrous star.
Like us, crying he takes His first breath
Held by His mother, helpless
Close to her beating heart.

Jesus, laid in a lowly manger,
Facing a world of dangers,
Come to turn me a stranger
Into a child of God.

Jesus, King of the highest heaven
Learning to take His first steps,
That He might bring us life.
Like us, knowing our smiles and sorrows,
He showed the way to follow,
A way that is true and right.

Jesus, take away every darkness,
Steady my simple footsteps
That I might in your goodness
Live as a child of God.

As I listened, I was reminded of how afraid I was of the dark as a child, and even as an adult, still afraid. I may not need a physical nightlight anymore, but it’s hard to not feel like being single means that you’re a stranger–left in the dark relationally. I’m afraid of being unknown and alone.

When I choked up over those lyrics, I wasn’t feeling particularly sad about anything. I was thrilled to find my CD and have my Irish Christmas tunes jamming loudly. (Can penny whistles jam?) But, the Holy Spirit used a simple children’s song to remind me–in a carefree moment–exactly what Jesus did by coming at Christmas. Jesus didn’t stay where it was comfortable.

Jesus, the joy of the highest heaven, stepped out of the brightest light, the warmest fellowship, the sweetest company to illuminate the world and to bring strangers in from afar. Jesus came to the earth, welcomed me in when I was a stranger and an enemy of God, and made good on His promise to be Immanuel once again. The magnitude of His mission is astounding. And, we’re only starting to see His power to right the wrongs and to “take away every darkness” and to make all things beautiful in His time.

Blessings on you this Advent season.
Anna

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7 Responses to A Children’s Christmas Carol

  1. Katie says:

    Do you think its possible? To live a full life full of joy and happiness as a single person?

    Loneliness is really hard to overcome. Especially when close friends or siblings have less (or no) time for you if they have their own spouses or children … even my parents have each other. Church family relationships are often superficial and obligatory …

    I’ve been told so many times that if God was everything to me, I wouldn’t find singleness so hard and could find “true” joy in Him. But I don’t think thats fair to say or expect: God IS everything to me but does it mean I don’t need someone to talk to? Doesn’t change the fact that I don’t experience the joys of sharing experiences or going through life with a loved one.

    What kind of happiness should I expect to have as a single Christian woman?

    • fast. pray. says:

      You are right that loneliness is really hard to overcome and that’s one of the many reasons why I pray and fast for women and men to get married. I don’t think it’s fair at all for people to tell you, “if God was everything to you… blah blah… being single wouldn’t be hard.” That sort of logic can be easily turned into a works-oriented, formulaic relationship with God. If God was everything to you, your divorce wouldn’t be so hard…. if God was everything to you, then your infertility wouldn’t be so hard, if God was everything to you then your husband having a chronic illness wouldn’t be so hard. If God was everything to you being single wouldn’t be so hard.

      That’s not the picture of God’s grace from Scripture–but having said that, I think that we can trust that God is going to care for us on our journey of life–whatever happens. If He hasn’t provided a spouse to talk to today, maybe He’ll provide a good friend or other community.

      One of the ways that God has been growing me in the past few years is to realize that the fruit of the Spirit — joy included — aren’t circumstantially dependent. Being joyful now is hard. It’s not easy being single and missing out on sharing life with a spouse, but if I woke up married tomorrow, being joyful wouldn’t necessarily be any easier for me because I have a tendency to be cynical/skeptical. Finding joy in life for me is not unlike wishing for trimmer tummy. It’s impossible without going eating well in God’s word every day and going into the spiritual gym to work the truth of Scripture into my heart. Maybe for other people it’s different.

      –Anna

      • Katie says:

        Thanks, Anna. I really struggled with this notion because my mother and Christian friends would “encourage” me to find my joy in God and not a spouse – as if I couldn’t deeply desire a husband and put God first in my life at the same time.

        But truth be told: I am happier, more stable and obviously less lonely when I’m in a relationship with someone and I really struggled with guilt about feeling that way, it even affected my prayers for a husband because I felt guilty for praying so hard for one.

        Singleless past a certain age is hard enough, without these unhelpful comments. But I guess people can just be insensitive or they don’t know how much it can hurt to be alone for an extended period of your life. Guess that’s all part of the struggle of being single.

        Thanks for your reply though.

        • T says:

          FWIW Katie, I don’t think you’re wrong at all. We are made for community – God lives in community with himself (father, son, HS) and he said that it’s not good for man to be alone prior to the fall when Adam had a perfect relationship with him. There is a difference between being lonely and alone. You can be alone and not lonely or be lonely and not alone or be alone and lonely. And we all need some alone time, but we shouldn’t be alone all of the time. I appreciate that your friends mean well, but it’s been my experience that women who rarely have alone time have little sympathy for those of us who have too much of it – they don’t get it and don’t understand that it’s not supposed to be that way. When we don’t acknowledge there is a problem, we don’t seek a way to correct it, so I’m sorry that they are unhelpful. I don’t think you should feel guilty at all!

        • fast. pray. says:

          I’m sorry that my comments seemed insensitive. I’m in your corner. I was mostly attempting to reflect on my own experience. I don’t know your story or your road, but I am praying that God will meet your needs and provide for you in tangible ways. — Anna

  2. M says:

    Wow! Thank you for this. My singleness hurts all year around but it can feel unbearable during the holidays. Your statement, “I may not need a physical nightlight anymore, but it’s hard to not feel like being single means that you’re a stranger–left in the dark relationally. I’m afraid of being unknown and alone.” Resonates with me so much.
    My prayer is that Jesus will take away my darkness & also that of my sister’s in Christ who share the same sorrow. Love, peace, & blessings to all.

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