Of all the times to get dumped, right before the holidays would be pretty low on my list. But that’s what had just happened to me.
“Couldn’t he at least have waited until after the holidays?” I wailed to a friend. Yes, wailed.
Now there would be no fun Christmas surprises, no joint activities, and I’d have to watch my friends—each of whom had someone special to spend the holidays with—enjoy all the things couples do at that time of the year.
I don’t know what I expected my friend to say in response to my disappointment, but it wasn’t this: “The holidays are either too sad or too happy.”
Huh? Since when is happiness a bad thing?
My friend went on to point out that getting caught up in all the Christmas activities—or FOMO (fear of missing out) on Christmas activities—makes it easy to overlook the real meaning of Christmas. She said this might be a good time for me to focus more on the spiritual message of Christmas.
Honestly, I wasn’t super excited about that. But at the same time, I didn’t want to have a miserable Christmas. So I decided to dig in.
I didn’t want to have a miserable Christmas.
As a Christian Scientist, I’d always heard that Christmas wasn’t just about the birth of Jesus, but about Christ. I didn’t have a really good handle on what Christ is, but as I read the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and did some praying, it became clear that Christ Jesus’ main message was that God loves and cares for each of us. And he proved that God’s love isn’t just a nice abstract thought, but that it actually heals—taking away pain and transforming lives. This message is the healing Christ, and Jesus expressed it so well that he was called Christ Jesus. The message and the man were closely connected.
I realized that while Jesus wasn’t going to be sitting around the Christmas tree with me, the Christ would be there—and everywhere I’d be that Christmas. God’s love is constantly being communicated to each of us all the time. As we feel the power of that Christ message, we’re helped, comforted, and healed.
Obviously, at that particular point in my life, I wasn’t feeling all that loved. I mean, let’s be real: I’d just been dumped, and rejection is never any fun. So I needed to hear this reassuring message clearly and feel its effect on my life. I’d felt God’s love before, but I knew this was an opportunity to feel this love more consistently, as well as the peace that comes with it. Based on past healing experiences, I was able to trust that God’s love wasn’t a consolation prize—you know, better than nothing, but not as good as a romance—but something that would make my life so much richer. This was about more than just one day out of the year; it was really about discovering something about God’s love and care that could sustain me every day, regardless of whether I was single or part of a couple.
As I embraced the presence and power of the Christ, I actually started to feel more loved than I had when I was in that relationship. I made some new friends, and that was great. But deeper than that was this new feeling that all the love in my life was actually from God, because God is Love, so every loving or kind act is really an expression of God and proof of His love for us.
God’s love wasn’t a consolation prize—you know, better than nothing, but not as good as a romance—but something that would make my life so much richer.
On Christmas Eve, I was invited to join some friends for dinner. While the thought of being a fifth wheel had been painful right after the break-up, that night I was able to celebrate with my whole heart. I felt happy to be there and grateful for the love expressed for me and by me—that Christmas Eve, and in my life in general.
Much to my surprise, I ended up feeling joyful that holiday season. I still had some lessons to learn as I navigated being newly single, but I felt loved more consistently, and it wasn’t dependent on who was in my life at any given time. I felt loved by God. All year long.
That Christmas was a turning point. While I definitely didn’t have the romantic, movie-worthy holiday I’d hoped for, what I gained has taken me through all kinds of Christmases since—some picture perfect, some not so much. I’ve never lost this feeling that God loves me, and that’s a huge gift.