Joy to the world! the Lord has come;
    Let earth receive her King;
    Let every heart prepare Him room,
    And heaven and nature sing,
    And heaven and nature sing,
    And heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

At this time of rejoicing, many people are sad and lonely. Dear ones may be far away geographically. Some may be nearby, but ignore or neglect family. Extended family members may have scattered thousands of miles. The old family home may be sold, and there may be a sense of having lost a home.

How wonderful it can be when some come for Christmas! Those who cannot afford to travel may be devastated. Few people mail Christmas cards now; the cost of postage is high. Cards without a letter bring little joy.

Psalm 88:18 – You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend. (NIV)

Psalm 142:4 – Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life. (NIV)

Proverbs 17:6 – Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. (NIV)

Children and grandchildren, or nieces and nephews bring much joy to Christmas. Their sense of wonder fills us with pleasure. Some adults have filled the "lonely gap" by "adopting" grandchildren or by being big sisters or brothers. School, daycare, and church Christmas programmes add delightful excitement to young and old, especially if we know some of the participants. Teachers usually are glad to have volunteers help with their programme. Conversely, some children go to nursing homes to do loving deeds for the elderly and disabled. Meal programmes for the unemployed can be a source of joy for both those who help and those who receive.

Prayer: Help us, Lord Jesus, to know whom to remember before Christmas with a visit, phone call, or letter. Are there children in whom we should take an interest? Show us what extra volunteer work we might do to bring joy to lonely people. Dear Father, whom shall we invite to our home for Christmas? Help us to be willing to risk something new in the steps of Christ. Amen.

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Myrtle Macdonald <>
Chilliwack, British, Columbia, Canada

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