Last night as I drove home from a wonderful service of stories, carols, and candles, I saw a young-ish man walking alone, head down, on a city street. He looked so lonely to me, although I don’t know anything about him. Such a lonely sight to me on Christmas Eve.
Holidays are funny. We associate holidays mostly with being with family, with those we love. Between holidays, we may forget that holidays are not often happy times. They are complex occasions for being together with so many folks that push our buttons.
Still, isn’t it lonely to be alone during the holidays, during this darkest season of the year? It’s no coincidence that Hanukkah, the Solstice Festival, and Christmas come during the darkest season, right at the time when the Light returns to earth again.
How do we build community when so many of us only have memories of lonely times with abusive family members? How do we find community for ourselves when the world can be such a lonely place? How do we find community so that we don’t have to eat all our meals alone?
Community is never simple. Community is never easy. Community always involves interactions with other human beings, most of whom are suffering with their own darkness. We are, too. Community always involves working things out, sometimes with people who don’t want to work things out, or with folks who don’t know how to work things out. Like us.
It’s no wonder some of us are lonely during the time when lights are shining all over the place.
May you be blessed. May you know Light. May you be at peace. May you find community wherever you are.