During my formative years, I had spent considerable amount of time herding cattle, sometimes sheep, in the slopes of the hills.
Most of the time we were alone, except for our bovine friends, which we had closely watch. In the nearby shade of trees, we sat down, waiting for the animals to be fed.
It was a good time to render our thoughts over anything our mind would grabbed upon. It inculcates, at some extent, a wandering or thinking mind in us. I always had that longing for a cozy living room filled with good books, carpets, and warm chairs.
Where there are no hard soils to sit upon, we’d climb the trees holding onto our shabby books, either very old or typewriter-written books. In that vastness of the world filled with green valleys, rivers, and hills, we spent our time in loneliness.
We’d missed those football matches where people cheered, as loud as they could, for their teams. Not only that, we’d missed some local festivals as we headed towards the woods before sunrise. In those remote places, refrain from normal life, we spent our time.
Loneliness is a state of mind; it is more of a feeling than the separation or disconnection with people. We can find more lonely people in the thickly populated alleys, sidewalks, and workplace of cities than in the remote regions of the world.
Ostensibly, one can easily possess loneliness when disconnected, mentally or physically, with people around us. Even with friends and families around us, we could have pervasive loneliness, which could be filled only by the Holy Spirit.
Loneliness in the Virtual World:
Here let me give a brief account of our virtual world before we moved back to the nativity;
In the realm of our present virtual world, people become prone to loneliness more easily than they did before. I’ve known some people who really counted the number of ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ on their social media posts.
Some friends met on the phone and chat through the available communication apps. There is enormous lack of human touch. A huge hole is left in our lives.
Words and one-liner communication can be easily misread, and at the same time, misinterpreted. Few people had stopped seeing each other face-to-face. When the machine gets conked off, for some, life isn’t happening anymore.
Something or someone has to fill the void. That void is hard to ignore. The brighter side is that such void can be avoided, but if not avoided, it can be filled.
The Shepherds of Bethlehem: (Luke 2:8-20)
The shepherds suddenly shot to fame at the birth of Jesus Christ. They are keeping watch on their flock living out in the fields nearby Bethlehem. They lead a life different from the townspeople. The Bible did not give us their numbers but it seems they did not interact much with other people, except the middlemen to whom they sold their sheep.
The shepherds, at that time, were generally seen as living a low life. Their occupation was considered as of little value by other people. They spent the night under the stars. They were quietly getting on with their business.
Suddenly, on the night Jesus Christ was born, the angel appeared to them. The lowly and isolated people were the first to witness the birth of our Savior. A brief description of the new-born king was told to them.
A great company of the heavenly host appeared praising the God. They had witness the heavenly host in their very own eyes! What greater privilege could there be on this earth than witnessing the heavenly praise?!
Those shepherds being the first to be told about Jesus make a lot of sense. In their isolated and lonely life, the shepherds had been given privilege. They become the favored people with the birth of Christ. Our loneliness, feeling of isolation, and lowly life could become the cornerstone; a block or the foundation of witnessing.
Immanuel – God with us:
The birth of Jesus Christ marked the wonder incarnation that God became flesh and made His dwelling among us. Matthew quoted Isaiah in proclaiming Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah.
Immanuel is a Hebrew word meaning “God with us”. Let’s read the text here: All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). (Matthew 1:22-23)
The God who dwelled among us never left us again. In His ascension to heaven we are provided with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
A life stemming out from Him would not be lonely, as He is always with us. It will be fruitful in the right time and phase.
There will be times of loneliness, the feeling of being forsaken, the feeling of isolation, and the feeling of helplessness but let us remember and remind each other the indwelling of Christ through the Holy Spirit in us.
Jesus Christ is the Lord, our God, who not only abided in heaven but also abided with us.
© 2017, Thuam Siam Ngaihte. All rights reserved.