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This Christmas, Conquer Loneliness Better Than The Grinch

The Grinch
Image CreditIllumination/YouTube

When you feel alone, what is your version of stealing Christmas trees and presents?


There is a newer version of the classic Grinch movie on Hulu that my 3-year-old son loves. Ultimately, it is the same old story about a green monster who lives on a mountain outside of Who-Ville, and he hates Christmas.

The difference in this Grinch movie is the reason why he hates the holiday. Young Grinch becomes an orphan and lives in an orphanage where no one is around for Christmas. All the other kids in the neighborhood have families and friends with whom to spend the day, but he is all alone. This loneliness drives the Grinch to despise the whole Christmas season — the presents, the decorations, Santa Claus, and the joyful spirit. His perpetual solitude makes him snap.

Even though this is just a cartoon Christmas movie, it delivers a hard truth Americans need: Loneliness kills. We are made for relationship.

A 2023 CVS Health study revealed that 36 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 have contemplated suicide in the last year. “Suicide was the second-leading cause of death in 2021 for people ages 10–14 and 25–34 and the third- and fifth-leading cause of death for people ages 15–24 and 35–44, respectively,” according to USA Facts, which compiled data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, from 2000 to 2021, the national suicide rate rose by about 36 percent.

The issue of suicide is complex, and many factors have influenced its tragic increase, but loneliness is a driving force. As a 2023 surgeon general’s report on “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation” said, “More broadly, lacking social connection can increase the risk for premature death as much as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.”

This loneliness epidemic is despite the fact that it’s never been easier to stay connected with other people through technology. We can regularly talk to and even see (using FaceTime) people who live across the country or globe, and social media allows us to see what is going on in the lives of others instantly. 

Yet as technology continues to advance, loneliness continues to rise. Deep inside, we all feel like the Grinch sometimes. 

He was alone and felt like no one truly knew him or cared about him. Despite how often we scroll through Instagram and stare at what everyone else has going on in their lives, do we feel as connected to others as we would like to be? Do we know that we are deeply loved by our best friends and family members? How many people can you talk to about the most important things in life and not feel judged or looked down upon?

To fight loneliness, we need communion; true friendship is the antidote to feeling alone. Instead of being attached to your phone, actually speak to those around you and talk to them about the important things in life, like family or hopes and struggles. Loneliness fades when we make deeper connections with other human beings, not screens or people we barely know on social media. Commit to fostering true relationships, and the Grinch will not show up.

Perhaps, the best way to fight loneliness is by practicing faith and growing in a relationship with God. After all, like any other relationship, if you do not spend time with God, hearing from and talking to Him, you can’t really know Him. The amazing part about Christmas is that God became a man so we could have the intimate capacity to be His friend. When human beings know God and understand His love for them, loneliness fades. A commitment to prayer can make us more aware that we are never alone, even if there is no other person physically with us because God — Emmanuel — is always with us. 

It seems to me the Grinch was honest about his situation, but his response was off. Because he felt awful and alone, he wanted to strip away what brought other people together. When you feel alone, what is your version of stealing Christmas trees and presents? Do you drink too much or speak down to your spouse? Do you scroll numbingly through social media for hours or gossip about your difficult coworkers?

To avoid being a Grinch, make time for others and make time for God. Don’t wallow in your loneliness: Be a Cindy Lou. Be a person that draws others into friendship and pulls them out of their loneliness. Don’t choose despair, no matter how bad your situation might appear. Instead, practice faithfulness, and remember our God stops at nothing to convey His love for and His presence with humanity. Redemption is why Jesus was born in the first place. 

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