Proverbs 27:10b Better is a neighbor who is nearby than kindred who are far away.
Like many people these days, I don’t have family members living close by. They’re at least three hours drive away – from our home in suburban Dallas to our family members outside of Austin or in San Antonio. That’s a lot better than it was when my family and I lived in North Carolina, but it’s still a bit of a haul.
Since we don’t have blood relatives close by, we depend on our friends a lot – especially our church friends. I don’t know what we’d do without them. And the fact is, many people living in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area (and just about any city you’d care to name) are like us. They moved here for work purposes, but have no established relationships upon arrival. If you’ve ever moved to a city under those circumstances you know how difficult that can be. It can get awful lonely on birthdays or holidays or other special occasions when you have nowhere to go. No one to gather with. No established patterns or traditions apart from family who are far away.
I’m convinced this is one of the great opportunities for the church in our day. We have the capacity to become “family” for those new to our area who have no relatives close by. Who do you know in your hometown who fits this description? How might the Lord give you opportunity to invite them into your own holiday rhythms and traditions?
Lord Jesus, loneliness is a real problem in our day. Yet when we’re part of the church we always have family. Give us grace to come alongside those who are lonely. We pray this in your holy name. Amen.