HOW can those who feel alone at Christmas ward off holiday blues? Prayer is a step in the right direction. It makes us receptive to God's pure, healing thoughts. God, divine Spirit, is all-encompassing, infinite good; He is Father-Mother, divine Love, comforting, guiding, governing His children. We can all learn how to pray and to discern His presence.
Prayer is a powerful ally! In the stillness of prayer we cultivate spiritual sensibilities, a skill of listening to God's Word. This helps us to feel that God is for us even when no one is with us. James puts it this way: ''Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.'' 1
n1 James 4:8.
I recall a tremendous personal struggle at one particular holiday season. I felt burned-out emotionally by saddening memories when faced with single living after years of comfortable married life. I shrank from having to confront the necessary adjustments. Tears often gushed out uncontrollably, even as a result of a friend's comforting words, ''You are never alone. God is with you.''
''How easy for her to say this; she has a large family,'' I mentally retaliated. However, right at that lowest point, God's outstretched hand lifted me up. My thought was gently touched by His holy, healing Christ. I realized that my friend's words were true.
The Master, Christ Jesus, often prayed alone. And during that terrible night in the garden of Gethsemane, when his life and mission were at stake, did he sulk in self-pity while his disciples slept? As we allow Jesus' immortal words to ring through to us today, when we commune with God as he did in humble, earnest, trusting prayer, God surely will send His angels to comfort us. Jesus prayed, ''Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.'' 2
n2 Luke 22:42.
In the midst of our struggles, our blues, our hurts, our facing up to the need to overcome a sorrowful, selfish mortal sense of self, we can actually feel the truth that God and man are inseparable, whether or not we are surrounded by family and friends. Our relationship to God has not stopped during transitional stages of human life or any untoward circumstance. Whether we're single or married, our relationship to our Maker is indestructible. It's preeminently meaningful, because man exists to glorify God. We are His precious sons and daughters, equally cherished at all seasons. As we maintain a moment-by-moment recognition of our sonship with God, good, we can ward off holiday blues. True being is spiritual, intact; and each individual's deeply felt, intimate communion with the Father is rewarded.
True prayer includes no urge to be center stage, no thought of oneself as a victimized mortal. The basis of feeling lonely is the mistaken belief that man is fleshly, a mortal isolated from his Maker. Yet in truth man is incorporeal. He's fully loved and satisfied, because he's the very image and likeness of divine Love. When we feel pressured by feelings of loneliness and despair, we may think, ''I want happiness now!'' We can have it now. Yet in order to have it, our primary need is to cultivate spiritual sense through the stillness of heartfelt prayer. ''Spiritual sense is a conscious, constant capacity to understand God,'' 3 writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. The cultivation of spiritual sense brings us peace and dominion. We intuitively feel God's presence and power in our lives. And this opens the way to appropriate associations, and affectionate and meaningful relationships.
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 209.
It's important, too, that we actively express God-derived qualities such as joy, trust, gratitude, compassion, patience, kindness, love. The list is endless and the opportunity grand. Expressing more of our true nature, we'll experience the joy inherent in that nature.
Understandingly turning to God in prayer brings release from the pressured feeling that we are disconnected from good or cheated out of happiness. As we resist the temptation to brood over loneliness and begin rejoicing in the truth that we are God's loved and loving child, feelings of helplessness, failure, despair, and so forth will diminish. Moreover, we will exhale a mental atmosphere that will help others gain dominion over loneliness.
The healing Christ, the divine influence, is within you at all times, under every circumstance. And Christly joy is God's gift at all seasons. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at they right handthere are pleasures for evermore. Psalms 16:11