Three weeks before Christmas 1993, Wolfgang Dircks died while watching television. Neighbors in his Berlin apartment complex hardly noticed the absence of the 43-year old. His rent and bills continued to be paid automatically out of his bank account. Five years later, the money ran out, and the landlord entered Dirck’s apartment to inquire. He found Dirck’s remains still in front of the tube. The TV guide on his lap was open to December 3, the presumed day of his death. Although the television set had burnt out, the lights on Dirck’s Christmas tree were still twinkling away…. It’s a crazy, but true story. My question is, “If a person can die in such isolation that his neighbors never notice, how lonely was he when he was alive?”
Loneliness is an epidemic for so many people during the holiday season. Whether it is the absence of people in our lives or it is feeling invisible in a crowded room, many feel the pain of isolation. However, the beauty of the Christmas story is that the Son of God came to earth to establish a relationship with humanity. We never have to feel alone because Jesus is “Immanuel,” which means “God with Us.” Regardless of what season of life you are in, know that God notices you. He is fully present when you want to share your burdens or joys, and He listens very closely. Christmas is not really about the presents, but it’s about the presence.
God, I thank you that I never have to feel alone. I know that “Immanuel,” was born of a virgin in order to be God with me. You are faithful to listen to me, whether I am having a good day or bad day. Teach me to cherish your presence, and grow daily in my relationship with you.