It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but because it’s 2020, it’s morphed into something else, something somber and gray.

I’m doing my best to keep the magic alive. I’m on track with gift buying, card sending, and present wrapping. I just learned about drive-through event this weekend where the kids can see Santa, and my family has plans to go to Sharonville’s Holiday in Lights. I’m engaging in Scripture through an Advent study by She Reads Truth, and we’re taking time in the evenings to read a Scripture verse and hang an ornament on the tree as part of an Advent countdown for the kids.

And yet…

I am lonely. I know I’m not the only one, because through the daily, normal conversations I have with my friends, I hear the desperation in their voices and recognize it in my own. This year has been hard. While my life has not been personally affected by Covid-19, I know plenty of people whose lives are forever changed. Never have I ever received more funeral notifications than this year, and each loss weighs heavily on me.

I’ve found that while it is difficult to walk through tragedy and illness, the struggle for me has been walking through the uncertainty and fear of the day-to-day. I can literally feel the loneliness settling in around me like a heavy blanket. It’s tightening across my shoulders and my neck and reaching up into my jaw where I find myself clenching my teeth all day, most days. I make sure that I keep up with as many of my weekly routines as possible: Marco Polo messages with friends, running with my sister, visits to grandparents when we’re 100% free of runny noses…

And yet…

That blanket of heaviness is still there. I can sometimes hear the voice of the enemy telling me that I am alone, that people are too busy to care, that the effects of 2020 will extend far into 2021…I could go on. There is plenty of negativity to be found; plenty of despair if I keep listening to that diatribe.

And yet…

Amid the negativity and the never-ending barrage of media, there is stillness. It’s taking more of an effort these days to reach that place of stillness, and even more so to admit my weaknesses in an era where I feel pressured and obligated to be strong.

It’s in the stillness I find joy again. In the peace that can only come from the Father, there is hope. There is a brief moment of reprieve from the blanketed weight of loneliness and desperation. In the stillness – ironically, the solitude – there is God, waiting where He’s always been, ready to remind me of His promises, goodness, and faithfulness.

I believe loneliness is one of the most effective devices the enemy uses against us. If he can convince us that we are alone, he can more easily convince us that we are helpless, worthless, and beyond grace.

And yet…

We are not truly alone.

I’ll be honest: I had a completely different blog post outlined for this week, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t right. I don’t know if the Lord was prompting me to write these words as a personal reminder, or if someone else needs to read them too. But here they are:

It might be a lonely Christmas, but you are not alone.

If you ever feel like that blanket might just smother you, DM me on Instagram @meg_messybunmantras. We can carry the weight together.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2