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by Neill Scott, LMSW-ACP, Clinical social Worker/Psychotherapist

The first thing to keep in mind for a Christian single person to achieve a successful holiday season is to Stay involved. Avoid isolation and loneliness. At this time of year, because there is such an overwhelming emphasis on family togetherness, loneliness for Christian singles can get worse. Itıs like singles donıt exist. They are invisible! Therefore, the Christian single must take some action to not slip into loneliness. A good way to approach this is to ask the Lord who you might be able to help to diminish their loneliness. Saint Paul writes in Galatians 6: 7: "Whatever a man sows that shall he also reap." In other words: whatever it is that you need, you will receive by giving that thing you need to someone else. For instance, if you need more money, you give money . If you need love, you give love. So if you are lonely, see what you can do about helping someone else out of their loneliness. Consider inviting friends over to your place. Is there someone in your church that needs a visit or a phone call? We receive by giving.

If you are not in a relationship, but would like to be in one, then take advantage of the many holiday church related events to fellowship and connect with other single believers. Meeting that right person has everything to do with being in a variety of satisfying relationships with a number of interesting people. There is usually no such thing as a lonely, desperate person finding that "right One." Finding the "right one" has everything to do with being actively involved in life, a life guided by The Master. It is wise to participate in as many church activities as you can. Networking with other church members, especially married couples, can be a good way to prospect for a mate. These folks sometimes like to be on the lookout to matchmake singles in the congregation. It is usually a slow time for Church activities between New Years and Valentines Day. So take advantage of these opportunities now.

However, don't be too hard on your self if you are not into  participating right now. The most important thing is that you   strengthen your faith and stay connected while enjoying the holidays. Attending Services and Close, fun time with a few good friends can be sufficient. Nurturing yourself like this is also good progress toward meeting and finding the special person that God has for you.

If you are in a relationship, be easy and forgiving with each other during this joyous but stressful time of year. Remember you can not change the other person. Only Jesus can do that. ( Matthew 7: 3: And why do you look at the speck in your brotherıs eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye.") You can only decide to let God change you. So you, with The Lords help, work on overcoming and modifying your own character defects. Surprisingly, when you change and grow, it often has the effect of changing the other person as well and the entire relationship gets better.

Donıt be sucked into family conflicts. Family squabbles can get worse at this time of year because the holidays can put one into situations where you are compelled to interact with family members even though you may not want to. Unlike the rest of the year, it is not easy to gracefully avoid difficult family members. One good way to stay out of trouble is to avoid getting drawn into family triangles. This is where one family member in conflict with another family member takes you aside and tries to get you to side with them against another family member. Or they want you to talk for them with the other family member on their behalf, instead of going straight to that person themselves. As the scripture indicates we should first go directly and confidentially to the person we have a grievance with: Matthew 18: 15 "If a brother sins against you, go to him privately and confront him with his fault." So it is best to politely decline becoming involved and step out of the way so as not to block Godıs light from shinning on this dilemma.

If there is a lot of family dysfunction (in a polite and respectful manner) keep family visits short. No more than three to six hours for in town visits. and a three day limit on out of town visits. If you really feel pressured and uncomfortable, consider staying in a motel during the visit with your own transportation available. Rent a car if necessary. The scripture say "Honor Thy Father and Mother." This does not mean that you must be under their roof for extended periods of time if you feel unable to do so.

Relax and be as easy on yourself as possible. Keep in mind that during the holidays as at all times, we are not in control of how things go. We have only the illusion of control. God is always in control. We can only do the next right thing. As the eleventh step of AA admonishes: " We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry it out."

Neill Scott, LMSW-ACP
Neill Scott is an experienced Licensed Master Social
Worker/Psychotherapist who works extensively with singles. He offers
his services to the Christian Community. He is a committed Christian and
an active member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas. For
other articles and helpful information, please check out his web site
at: http://ve.net/relationships/