It is hard to write a blog post about being single at the holidays without sounding cynical. I mentioned this to another single friend yesterday at work and he agreed with me. I’m going to do my best here…
It’s hard to be single. It’s even harder during the holidays. I don’t think I’ve stated anything new. I’m pretty sure all of us who read Single Roots are thinking the same or have thought the same thing. I’ve tried to narrow it down to why exactly it is so much harder than normal—except for when we go to weddings, but that’s another blog post for another day.
I’m not begrudging them. I love getting Christmas cards. But every year I receive more and more from friends posed on the beach with their spouses and kids, dressed in denim and white. I smile, then I look at the card and immediately my heart sinks.
I’m only getting older and my Christmas card remains a single picture of me, thanking those who are partnering with me in ministry in Germany. I often wonder—and maybe I over think it too much—if the married friends think, “Poor Allison. When will she ever get married? Does she want to get married?” Yes, yes, I do. I want to be able to send out the family Christmas card—except I am not going to be posing on a beach dressed in denim and white. We’re all going to be posed in front of some historical monument in Europe dressed in hot pink and black. Yep, that’s right. No denim and white (or khaki and black) for my future family!
Advertisements are all about family. Little kids opening presents in a perfect, Christmas-themed living room with mom and dad proudly looking on. It is only a reminder to me that my dreams of one day having my own family to celebrate with are getting more blurred. Sometimes I have to wonder if they’re ever going to come true.
(P.S. Have you seen the commercials they have for singles at this time of year? Apparently all we do during the holidays is go out and party it up on New Year’s Eve.)
Yes, church. Church always makes me more aware of my singlehood during Christmas. Maybe it’s that aforementioned dream I of having my own family. I enjoy Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day because I love my church’s Christmas Eve service. But it does tend to remind me of the fact that I don’t have a family of my own. (Not to mention that I’ve always wanted to dress up my children like little models out of a Christmas catalog on Christmas Eve!)
I expected to be married with a family by now. I think that is the biggest one. My expectation wasn’t met. It was met for my brother, it was met for my best friend, it was met for nearly all of my cousins, but it hasn’t been met for me. And that is the hardest thing to accept right now.
The thing is, I still love Christmas. I love getting to teach Christmas music to my choirs. I love the anticipation of getting to see my family for the first time in over five months in a just few days.
But the struggle and the longing are both still ever present and I think they will be until the desire of my heart, marriage and a family, comes to pass. The expectation remains. The Christmas cards will continue to come. Commercials will continually portray “the family” at Christmas (and all of us singles will still be partying it up on New Years, apparently).
Yet, I still have hope of one day the expectation being met. It gives me hope that my Abba knows my struggle. He knows the ache of my heart this time of year. His arms open wider, His love remains the same, and in my hurt, he loves me through it.
And He reminds me of the one thing I need to be reminded of right now: His plans are bigger, His mind is greater, and His dreams for me will always be better than those I could have imagined for myself.