Remembering those who are alone

Being lonely is hard.  But being lonely during a holiday season is excruciating.

Today I’ve got a devotion running about the shepherds in the Christmas story.  It hit me this year, what an odd and intentional choice it was of God’s to tell the shepherds first about the birth of Christ.

It wasn’t announced during the day and it wasn’t proclaimed in the crowds.

No, the birth of Christ was told on a lonely field in the dark of night to shepherds.

I wonder if God felt their loneliness and knew they needed a reminder that He saw them.  He saw them working into the night. He saw them away from the crowds.  He saw them when others maligned their character, as shepherds couldn’t even testify in a court of law back then. He saw them doing a job others demeaned.

Knowing God sees me when I am lonely helps.  And it prompts me to ask the question: Who needs to know I see them?

Maybe you know someone who need to be remembered this week. It doesn’t take much to make a difference.

An email, or mailed card, to someone going through the first holiday without a loved one would mean so much.

A phone call to check in and say, “I’m thinking of you.”

A shared trip to the mall with an afternoon coffee and Cinnabon stop (and no guilt) could really cheer someone up.

Or maybe your better in the kitchen.  Maybe food speaks love to you.  If so, I wanted to share a few recipes that might be good to make and share with someone who needs to be remembered.

Here are some ideas you might consider making and sharing.

 

Pull-Apart Coffee Cake would make a great breakfast or afternoon tea treat.

Pull-Apart Coffee Cake would make a great breakfast or afternoon tea treat.

 

Click here to open a link to the Pull-Apart Coffee Cake Recipe.

Martha Stewart's Chutney Cheese Ball - this is fabulous with a basket of crackers or plate of vegetables

Martha Stewart’s Chutney Cheese Ball – this is fabulous with a basket of crackers or plate of vegetables

Click here for a link to Martha Stewart’s Recipe.

Lady's Cheesy Mac from Paula Deen.  Warning, you need to make a double batch or your family will riot when you take this away.

Lady’s Cheesy Mac from Paula Deen. Warning, you need to make a double batch or your family will riot when you take this away.

 

Click here for a link to this recipe on Food Network.

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcake

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes from
Southern Living

Click here to open link for Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes in a new tab.

What do you like to make and share with others?  Leave a comment today with a link to one of your favorite dishes to share.  Or tell me how you remembered someone who is lonely.  And I’ll select a few commnters to win a a special gift.   It will be a surprise gift, but it will be something from my inventory of when I ran an online store.  It’s all cottage-style home items.

I’ll leave this open for the rest of the week and announce the winners on Monday.

Merry Christmas,

Glynnis

 

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Comments

  1. Ann says

    Being far from loved ones make me lonely on seasons like this, that is why am so touched with what you have shared today. Before I read this, I was already thinking and praying how I can encourage the women in the church to reach out to many lonely sisters and encourage everyone to share Jesus love as we walk with one another to be more stronger in our relationship with the Lord.

    I am not a cooking person, but what you shared will be a very good means to establish this “link of loving one another” – thank you so much and God bless you more. I wish to know more from sisters who will share their thoughts…

  2. says

    This year I made sausage balls and reindeer chow. The chow was a new one-but fun to make with pretzels, 3 cereals, peanuts, M&M’s and drizzled white chocolate over top of it all! Was a big hit with my receivers.

    I agree-it’s so much fun making and taking goodies to others. I try to do it year round-not just at Christmas time.

    Thanks for all you do Glynnis! You truly inspire me. I pray your family has a Blessed Christmas!! Hugs!

  3. Norma L says

    Thank for mentioning the “lonely” ones; unfortunately, I have 3 grown children who fall within this age bracket. Two live a distance away- I am looking forward to preparing their favorite childhood casseroles when I see them over the holidays: chicken pot pie and hamburger casserole. Living alone and being men, they cook very little. I pray that they see & feel both my love and especially God’s love for them!

    • Barbara Fay says

      Dear Norma-
      What a tender gesture it is to prepare your sons’ favorite meals! My mom showed her love for me and my sisters in the same way, when we were home for visits. (We also lived a distance away.) Food does bear a very warm link between people. Young men who are single can prepare simple, delicious foods, just as easily as busy young single women can. :-) Make sure your gift to your sons includes the recipe for their favorite childhood casseroles, and tell them a little bit about how to create them. Then they can feel your love whenever they make them (reading from your handwritten recipe) no matter how far they live from you! A gift that I have given to a treasured young single man who lives far from his mom is a waffle iron! Waffles are easy and fun to make, modern irons have non-stick surfaces and are easy to clean. Why, your sons might even become bearers of good food to others who are alone!

  4. Juanita Stevens says

    Thank you Glynnis for this reminder once again to reach out to those around us.

    Last week I stopped by to visit a relative I had not seen in quite awhile. Just being able to be there with her to visit made her day. She turned 89 years old last week. We talked for over 2 hours. She didn’t want me to leave. But then insisted I return for another visit in the near future.

    We just never know who God will lead us to visit and encourage along the way. We just need to be faithful to His calling and leading and obey.

    What a joy to fellowship with others, especially at this time of year.

  5. Jackie says

    Thank you for reminding everyone but they also need to think of those that have some family around yet are still very lonely and depressed during the holidays. Never really thought of it before it was me this year. Appreciate all your wonderful devotions, sometimes it feels as if you are speaking directly to me . God Bless you

  6. Sue Jeffords says

    I like to send cards all during the year to people in nursing home and shut ins because everybody loves to get cards.

  7. Erika says

    I love to make Oreo cupcakes. They are so easy and who doesn’t like Oreos. Especially mint Oreos! Follow the directions for the cake mix on the box and place an Oreo in the bottom of the liner before adding the batter. Cook as directed and top with a frosting of your choice! This is also a great way to stretch a box mix because you use less batter per cupcake.

  8. Dee says

    We make sure to send a card to those we know that have lost loved ones this year. Everyone gets cards right after the event and then it is as if everyone forgets, except those that lost someone!!! Sending a card to say you remember, their pain, their loss and them especially!!!

  9. Suzi says

    Thank you for sharing this insight today that God wants to show the lonely that He cares. I am now reminded to write a couple notes and send cards to our wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital. Been meaning to for a week but I am guilty of forgetting those that are hurting or lonely. I so appreciate this reminder.

  10. Heather says

    This reminds me to take a few moments and realize those around me everyday who may be lonely. I will make a concentrated effort to seek them out and send cards to those I normally don’t send to. Thank you and Merry Christmas

  11. Elaine Segstro says

    We enjoy having people over to our home. A lunch favourite is hamburger soup, and a supper favourite is a spicy Indonesian dish – Nasi Goreng.

  12. Gloria says

    I love to make candies during the Christmas season and give away. This is one of my favorite recipes from Taste of Home:

    Orange Truffles

    1 package milk chocolate chips
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    ¾ cup whipping cream
    1 teaspoon grated orange peel
    2½ teaspoons orange extract
    1½ cups finely chopped nuts (optional)
    1 cup milk chocolate chips
    2 tablespoons shortening
    Place chocolate chips in a mixing bowl and set aside. In a saucepan bring cream
    and orange peel to a gentle boil; immediately pour over chips. Let stand for 1
    minute; whisk until smooth. Add the orange extract. Cover and chill for 35 minutes
    or until mixture begins to thicken. Beat for 10 to 15 seconds, or just until
    mixture lightens in color (do not overbeat), and spoon by rounded spoonful onto
    waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Cover and chill until fairly firm. Gently shape
    into balls. Melt together chips and shortening until smooth. Dip balls in chocolate
    or roll in nuts. Store in refrigerator.

    Soooo yummy & a special treat to give someone during what can be a tough time of year.

  13. lisa Schafhauser says

    Thank you, Glynnis for this morning’s devotion! It speaks to my heart. My dad is in a nursing home in another state and is very lonely. I do what I can from afar calling him thru out the week, sending care packages, encouraging others to reach out to him and praying for God’s peace about accepting life as it is now. It has made me more aware of those who are hurting around me in my daily walk and how I can be a help to them.
    God has blessed me with a compassionate heart and I am truly grateful for that!
    Merry Christmas!!

    Lisa

  14. Sharon Gingerich says

    Remembering our pastors wives and the loneliness they face with their responsibilities, I’ve made an effort to affirm them for specific things I appreciate about them. It’s meant a lot to them (judging from their responses) :) to hear something like that unexpectedly.

  15. Melody Byrum says

    As a matter of fact, we are making Banana Nut Bread, cranberry orange bread, and decorated sugar cookies on Saturday (well my daughter (9) and I are making them, my husband will be in charge of watching our toddler). Then we will load them and our toddler in the wagon and go to all of our neighbors and bring baskets of goodies to them. And then we will drive across town to our old house and visit our old neighbor and bring her goodies along with probably chatting for an hour or longer. My husband was friends with her husband before we got married and we were both there the night her husband passed away. We rushed right over when the firetrucks tore through our neighborhood and then my husband drove her to the hospital that night. Since then, we remained friends with her and her grown sons who were glad that we were watching out for her. Even though we moved away and don’t see her as much, we still try to make a point to take time in the busyiness of our lives and see her. Christmas, especially. She loves to have us drop by for a chat and so she can see the kiddos. We now have a relationship with several of our new neighbors too. One due to our dogs escaping more than once or twice, and another because the little girl is my daughters best friend. Others we have helped or they have helped us. It’s so good to have good neighbors. So many people just ignore one another.

  16. june says

    I love to bake and especially this time of year make caramels. I have one very dear senior friend that I make certain receives the most glorious holiday tin of goodies.
    I have even brought bags of caramels to give to my local post office. I have surprised my favorite coffee shop staff and there are two senior women that show up for coffee every single day and every year I surprise them each with a bag of homemade treats.

    I have been known to make over 50 lbs of caramel at Christmas and when I hand them out I often hear stories about how their mother or in some cases grandmother use to make caramels.

    My mom lived her last year of life in a nursing home and I made a batch that was on the much softer side so that many of her friends could enjoy. Even though many were unable to communicate clearly you could tell by their faces that it provoked a memory from long ago.

    My mom always said, “you never know what goes on behind closed doors”. To me this always meant whether it was a neighbor or someone in the community it is always not apparent who will be home alone at the holidays. To me sparking those memories from times past can bring so much joy to the soul and if my caramels can do that my Christmas wish list is fulfilled.

    I just taught my niece how to make caramels yesterday. As we visited I told her now that she knows what to do she needs to make certain caramels are served at my funeral. She is a Pastor and something tells me when that comes she will not only make certain caramels are there but a story will be told.

    Wishing everyone a blessed holiday season!

  17. Amber m. says

    I love the idea of sharing food! Food speaks live to my soul and I’m sure it does to many other but the act of sharing a treat together brings not only the tasty food into the mix but the blessing of a living memory made and time spent together! Wonderful ideas

  18. L. says

    My favorite Christmas time treat to give and feed my family is lemonbars. I have a friend who gives us fresh lemons, so its kind of receiving and giving too. Our first Christmases here were hard as its just our immediate family. Its easier now with friends around us and a stronger relationship with God. Its amazing how God met me in my lonliness. Christmas and Advent is the best time of year! This year we are praying for a pastor. Living by faith is being put into practice.
    Merry Christmas everyone!

  19. says

    If I don’t call, cause words fail me, I’ll send a card (funny how I can write nonstop ) and let them know what is in my heart for them. I’m letting them know I care at their convenience.

  20. Barbara Fay says

    I called a dear, older friend who lost her husband a few years ago. Our library has an exhibit of gingerbread houses made by families and individuals in our community, and we set up a date to go see it. The day dawned very cold, but she was eager to get out and see the exhibit – which she thoroughly loved. We had a great time carefully perusing all the tiny details of each structure. She expressed gratitude for all the families who spent so much time together constructing these magical buildings – every one unique! Then I remembered that a furniture store in town has a tree decorating exhibit, and we went there, too. We had a beautiful day together and it lifted MY spirit to have such a happy time with her!

  21. Barbara Ann says

    Angels announcing the birth to the shepherds is my fav part of the story. We have 3 birthdays to celebrate this month so I usually make a least one special cake. The grandkids love cake or cupcakes for Jesus birthday. Also I try to make or buy something yummy for that special teacher, mailman, neighbor, and my gardener with an invitation to our church services. Thanks for sharing your favorite treats! Have a blessed Christmas.

  22. Marianne Gill says

    I find the best way to show love to friends that are feeling sorrowful during the Christmas season is first and foremost praying for peace and comfort :-) Either baking, sending a “thinking of you, love you” text or just a handwritten note or email. Thank you so much for your blog posts! They are so encouraging :-)

  23. Tammy says

    A wonderful and timely reminder! I have a dear elderly friend who is a widow and I take her baked goods when ever I bake throughout the year. She has a sweet tooth:)One that she likes at this time of year are the Praline Cookies. Her face really lights up when I take her those and her smile alone is such a blessing!

  24. Phyllis Smith says

    Glynnis, thank you so much for the reminder. We all seem to get so busy at this time of year and forget those who might be lonely or just need a little extra love. What a true inspiration you are to others, especially me. I work so many hours, I usually don’t take the time to bake, but I have a little time off this year and intend to use it doing something for others. Thank you for being there for me in my inbox. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  25. Kathy says

    Many people are lonely and need a kind word or some company to lift them up. The shepherds in the field reminds me that God sees the lonely, disenfranchised people and brings them great tidings of peace, love and joy to enhance their lives. We are messengers of God to bring the good news of His love to the hurting, lonely people we encounter. Just a smile and wave to a distance neighbor or stranger can bring encouragement to another.

  26. Kathy says

    People can be lonely when they are surrounded by people. I like to let others know I am thinking about them by sharing some of my chicken and dressing casserole. It is delicious and can easily be frozen (if any is left!).

  27. Carissa D. Huffman says

    I love to make divinity fudge or teenage teasers (old family recipe), but don’t do much baking right now–finances are a bit tight this season.

    I am sending a card, some photos and a calendar of my little boy’s pictures to my aunt who lives about 2 hours away–her good, godly husband went home to be with the Lord before Thanksgiving after about 60 years of marriage. I cannot even imagine…

    Carissa in eastern Iowa

  28. Stacy says

    I found your blog after reading the devotion today at Proverbs31. As a young stay at home mom with 4 little boys, it was encouraging! Thank you. My husband lost both his parents several years ago and the holidays are a little lonely without them. I like to make some of the dishes his mom would make for the holidays. One of his favorites is this one I am posting from Allrecipes. It is a mini Cherry Cheesecake.
    http://allrecipes.com/recipe/mini-cherry-cheesecakes/

  29. Cammi Waggoner says

    I love the holidays and its to bad we can’t be like that more of the year. But I often bake cookies and take them to shut in or someone who just needs a friend to talk to, often over tea. Nothing makes me feel more special.

  30. Leigh Anne says

    I love to make Gorilla Bread! It’s delicious and easy! Canned biscuits, cream cheese, brown sugar melted into butter, cinnamon sugar!!!!

  31. Michelle says

    This year when we went to visit my mom who has dementia and lives six hours away,
    I took her a stack of Southern Living magazines.
    She no longer reads, but enjoys looking at pictures.

  32. Sarah M says

    Yesterday we shared granola bars with the homeless woman who spends her days reading on a bench next to our neighborhood playground. Your post has inspired me to take her homemade cookies tomorrow. And to learn her name.

  33. Cordelia says

    My brother-in-law just entered Hospice this evening….he was/is a young 57. So my mind has gone to their dear children…..should he soon be called Home, I should be making food for them – my nieces and nephews. I think of soup as a comfort food and I love making Cheesy Chicken Chowder for others. One other recipe I go to for a food to bless others is Chicken and Rice casserole. It’s a creamy mixture with soups and broth. Thank you for your recipes; I enjoy reading a recipe book like others might read a novel.

  34. says

    Every year my grandma would make divinity and fudge for the family and I would stand by her side and follow her steps. This year we are making batches of the fudge and taking them to the VA in town. There are a lot of Veterans in hospice there, and we thought it would be a nice way to share some love. We use the See’s fudge recipe but use butter and mini marshmallows instead of the fluff stuff. :)

  35. Jennifer Palmer says

    Your post yesterday was so timely…I love how God does that!

    We have a friend who has become a single mom of 4 kids this past year. I know she feels lonely lots of days but especially this time of year…so last night we showed her just what a “Wonderful Life” she has and how she is surrounded by those that love her. Here is part of the email that was sent out…we had 50+ people show up last night! I’m not sure how much money ended up in the bag, but more importantly she saw how many of us care about her!

    Email:
    “I hope you are enjoying this Wonderful Christmas Season! Have you ever seen the Movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”? The ending in particular? George Bailey had fallen on hard times but his friends and the community he lived in rallied together and blessed him with gifts of cash for Christmas to help him out of his tight spot (you can watch the short video clip attached to this email).

    You have the opportunity to be part of making our friend and her family have a Wonderful Life this Christmas. We will be meeting at the park near her house on Tuesday, December 17th at 6:30 pm and walking to her home where we will knock on the door and begin singing Hark the Herald Angels Sing. We will have a bag for her to hold and for you to fill.

    If you want to participate, please meet us. Bring whatever cash you would like to give, even small amounts like $5 or $10 can go a long way when we all work together (And the more dollar bills the bigger the impact).

    Please forward this to anyone you know (or that I have missed) that would be interested in being a big blessing this Christmas. Even kids and strangers are welcome to participate. But remember this is a Christmas Surprise.”

    To God be the Glory!

  36. says

    Sweet sweet devotional today! Loved reading about the shepards & how God saw them My friend lost her Mother last April They were very close Her Momma longed to live to see Jesus come back to get us all! She was in her 90′s Instead she sees him now!
    I read one time in Ethiopia that the village takes grain & fruit every month to the deceased person’s family Then @ the 1yr anniversary date they celebrate that person’s life Here in America some think its been 3 days get over it!
    Holy Spirit said to bless her each month & not let her know!! One month i folded a $5.00 bill like a song birdb & tucked it inside a card Sonic card another month She is an artist so I wanted to bless her with drawing tablet & colored pencils I was always on a mission finding cards to lift her up It was @ a difficult time in my life where I felt lonely & all alone! It made my darkness full of sunshine I will never tell her because when they know people feel like they need to return the favor:)
    I do like to take banana nut bread to lift others up!
    Please pray for a Mom whos’s son committed suicide on Tuesday My hair dresser shared this with me today! She said she will go & pay her rent for this Mom I cried We are suppose to be a depository for The Lord! WOW to pay a bill or rent is awesome huh???
    Gas cards are great or out to eat gift cards even to Sonic or movie passes to get others out & about The walls @ home can seem like thy are falling in
    Thank you Glynnis for your tender heart & reminding us all why we are here
    Christmas Blesings
    Donna

  37. cheryl says

    we celebrate St Nicholas day. It was a great way to keep “Santa” out of the picture. This year my 8th grade son’s classmate single mother commited sucide. Her 6th grade brother found her. Thankfully the grandparents were open to have them come to our house. I normally make a stocking shape out of hamloaf. This year Zoe make the stocking and she decorated with differnet cheeses when it came out of the oven. It was an amazing evening full of laughter. Hope to take all the kids to the zoo over christmas breck. Please say a prayer for Zoe & Ethan if you read this email.
    Thanks!

  38. Karin says

    What a great devotion! There is a single mom in our Sunday School class. At our Christmas party, she was sharing with me what was on her wish list. It was all things for her kids and for her kitchen. (I’m talking cookie sheets and a few pieces of tupperware, not a new Keurig). It occurred to me that she would likely not get many gifts for Christmas as her kids are not able to shop for her. The next day I went out and got her a set of new cookie sheets so she could make a few cookies with her kids and set the Sunday School class to the task of meeting the other needs. This is what I should be spending my time on this time of year. Thanks for the reminder!

  39. Liz W. says

    My daughter turned 12 today and is having a crafting party tomorrow. One of the crafts is an ornament that they will then deliver to some of the older people in town. We also love surprising people with goodies we’ve made. This year we made a chocolate peanut crockpot candy.

  40. Terry C says

    I have always sent cards to people who have lost a loved one. It is so hard at the holidays and on the anniversary of the death. In the card I mention something that I remembered about their loved or something that I admired about them and let them know that their loved one is not forgotten. I also send valentine cards to the widows or maybe a lady who wouldn’t receive a valentine card. I know all to well the feeling of even being married and not receiving a valentine, such a lonely feeling, especially when all around everyone is celebrating love. Also, letters and cards to a college student away from home, who is experiencing loneliness and being homesick. People all around us need love and reminders that they matter. We all need it.

  41. Dawn Darby says

    My husband and I make Divinity to share with his family. It was a special Christmas tradition that his mom made every year and she has now passed on so we carry on the tradition and share it with her brother and other relatives including my sister-in-laws to remember her. Of course, we use a mixer instead of the old fashioned way of elbow grease stirring.

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