It’s a Wonderful Life

In Frank Capra’s 1946 Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, the main character, George Bailey, has lived his entire life with an underlying discontent that only occasionally rears its ugly head. One Christmas Eve, however, years of frustration are magnified by unfortunate events that occur, and George erupts—despairing of hope. Similarly, the single adult may become accustomed to the normalcy of singleness, to be reminded only now and then of her sad estate—particularly while walking through the frozen foods section at the supermarket to find the “pizza-for-one” staring back at her. These momentary twinges come and go, but the fact remains that there are no Publix commercials about the single woman eating her pizza-for-one, alone, with one stocking that she hung herself, stuffed herself, and will likely unpack herself.

Are you single this holiday season? Do you have single friends or loved ones? As Christians, how should we approach this often overlooked aspect of Christmas?

Pros and Cons
Unfortunately, singles don’t have a special someone to share in the Christmas spirit, cuddle with by the fireplace, or smooch on under the mistletoe. Real life doesn’t necessarily reflect what is portrayed in gushy movies or lyrics of cutesy, pop Christmas songs. There is also the dreaded pressure of finding a “plus-one” to attend Christmas parties or other holiday gatherings, and who was the wise guy that came up with the New Years Eve midnight kiss anyway? On the other hand, there are advantages to jingling bells and decking the halls solo. Singles have the freedom to decide where they will spend the holidays and with whom. This means no guilt trips, no in-law tensions, and no stress of meeting expectations. What’s more, there are no additional gift-giving or exchange obligations, so the time, money and extra effort that would have been spent finding gifts for a significant other and associated persons can be used according to personal preference—whether that be a gift for yourself, donating to and serving with a favorite charity, or giving to the benevolence fund at church.

Solo but Not Alone
Frequently, the single person listens to the lying whispers of the enemy, believing the reason they remain single is because they are majorly flawed; and, due to the fact that they have yet to marry, they also conclude that they are a failure in some aspect. The reality is this: there are 99.6 million unmarried people over the age of 18 in the United States; this represents nearly 44% of the adult population—61% of whom have never been married (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). Being single in this country is obviously not an atypical defect, since almost half of all American adults are in the same situation.

Your Identity
For those who trust Christ as Savior, relationship status is a non-issue when it comes to identity—or at least it should be. While most who have grown up in the church are familiar with the idea of “knowing who you are in Christ,” the phrase has become almost cliché. What does it really mean? Who are you? The scriptures provide us with the truth; Ephesians 1 paints an accurate picture of the believer’s status. Brothers and sisters, you are not defined as single or married. You are a saint; blessed; chosen; holy; blameless; predestined; adopted; redeemed; forgiven; an heir; sealed; and a prized possession. Your status has been determined by the God of the universe, who has “seated [you] with [Christ] in the heavenly realms”(Ephesians 2:6). The depths of these truths may not always penetrate the lonely heart sitting in the shadows of twinkling lights and flickering candles at Christmastime, but when you are able to grasp even moments of belief, ask yourself, “How is this possible?” Of course, the miraculous answer lies in the reason for the season.

The Single’s Savior
It isn’t surprising that feelings of intense loneliness, especially during the holidays, can cause many singles to seek ways to avoid or alleviate pain. In essence, whether they realize it or not, they are searching for a savior—they want to be rescued. And, in this search for rescue, there is both good news and bad news to be found. The bad news is that no thing or person in this world can ever fill the empty places in a hurting heart. In fact, the sense of emptiness only intensifies as a person tries to find a remedy over and over without fulfillment. The good news is that there is a Savior who effectively rescues and satisfies. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who left his throne in Heaven over 2,000 years ago and became flesh in the form of an infant. He was born for the sole purpose of living a sinless life, only to die a substitutionary death, so that those who put faith in him would be saved—saved from themselves on earth, and saved from hell to live with God for eternity in Heaven. This is the Christ of Christmas, and this is the living hope for every person—single or married. Even in that old black-and-white movie, things only took a turn for the better when George Bailey finally cried out to God for help.

Christmas Grace
Along with the gift of salvation, God has graciously given us many other gifts, including the members of his body as a means of grace. This Christmas season, prayerfully consider how the Lord would use you as a vessel of his compassion and kindness toward others. ‘Tisn’t the season to be jolly for everyone—remember the single woman with the pizza-for-one and the lonely stocking? Ask the Lord how he would have you give of your time and money to serve those who struggle, especially at this time of year. May we demonstrate that, regardless of relationship status or any other worldly standard –no matter what the circumstances –because of the birth of Christ on that first Christmas night, it really is a wonderful life.

Dawn is an Outreach Volunteer at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. Follow her blog at dawncoates.wordpress.com or on Twitter at @dawn_coates.

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