Being a single parent is tough any time. But maybe more so around the holidays. The single parent doesn’t really fit in anywhere when it comes to Christmas parties. All of the Holiday decisions and actions are up to the single parent. And, it’s a time of heightened loneliness and sadness over what has led a person to be a single parent–whether by death, divorce, or some other event.
But, there are joys, too, in being a single parent during the Christmas season. I think this is the first year that I’ve started to see the fruits of these joys in my life.
1. By having to depend more on my Jesus every day, I am more aware of the impact that His birth made on this world–as well as His death and resurrection. There is more awe, more astonishment, more wonder, because I need Him more in my life. I am not self-dependant as I used to be.
2. Christmas has definitely become an anti-materialism/anti-consumerism holiday for our children, and I think that is a very good thing. Yes, they will get Christmas gifts. But not piles like their friends, and not the “latest and greatest”. Instead, I see them focusing much more on what they want to buy each other for Christmas than caring what they are going to get. This never would have happened, had our financial situation not dictated it. And it is a joy for me to see them caring for each other. They even have a surprise for me!
3. Before our divorce, the holidays were stressful times of many, many parties, church services, musical practices, etc. All very wonderful and worthwhile things. But as a full-time working single-parent, I have to pick and choose what we can attend and be involved in. And as far as parties go, there aren’t any “single parent parties” out there. 🙂 So I find myself so much more relaxed and enjoying my crew and the season for what it is, not for what my high expectations would normally dictate.
4. Before posting this post, I posted a list of 10 of our Christmas traditions. Being a single parent has meant doing away with some traditions that are just too painful to remember, and instead adding new traditions that will build new memories for my crew. It’s a joy to me to be able to do that, not just for my kids, but for me as well.
5. Yes, the loneliness is real and very present. I’m sad for what has been and what could be. We miss the person we called husband and father. And yet God grants me joy in the midst of this loneliness, by making Himself known through His word. I now read scripture as if my life depended on it, because it does.
And so, I eagerly await the next four weeks. I eagerly await our traditions, our gift giving, our laughter and our togetherness. I cherish our Advent time in scripture and prayer. And I fight for the joy that God offers me in this season of my life, in this season of Christmas.
Maybe you are a struggling single parent this year. Maybe this is your first holiday without your spouse, for whatever reason. That first Christmas is tough. All holidays are tough. But if you, too, can fight for joy and find new meaning and outlets for your Christmas Worship and Praise, you will sense God’s presence as He slowly works to heal your heart.
And if you don’t know this God that I’m speaking of, I would love to introduce you to Him. You will never regret meeting Him; He will change your life.