I've always found those innocuous little interviews that ask people to disclose with whom they would most like to share a meal or perhaps spend a day mildly interesting at best. Most respondents dream of meeting a glamorous actor, a top-of-the-charts recording star, a sports personality, maybe a humanitarian or religious personality.
Since the question suggests dreaming beyond normal possibilities, someone usually says she would like to have brunch with Jesus Christ. Good Christian answer.
Holidays are a time when a lot of people feel lonely. Indeed, some people literally have no one in life to whom they feel close. They are either without family or estranged from family and close friends. Some have been beset by unemployment, despite feverish efforts to find work. Some find themselves paralyzed by poverty through no fault of their own. These can be situations of loneliness as well as despair.
Perhaps some interviewer should seek out lonely and hurting people and ask the question, "If you could have anyone in the world who could walk through your life's situation with you, who would that person be?"
Likely the top answers would not be rock stars, TV and movie personalities, sports stars or people in similar categories. But who would they be? My hunch is that few would identify persons by name. They would instead list qualities — selfless and caring qualities — in potential friends.
"Give me someone with compassion." "How about a good listener." "I would like a loyal friend." "I would like someone who would treat me with respect." "I would choose someone who has been down the same path as I and survived." "How about a person capable of understanding me and my circumstances."
The Christian might answer, "Jesus, just give me Jesus."
Indeed, perhaps the only person who fits perfectly is Christ, who was introduced to the world more than 2,000 years ago as a living, breathing person. It is in that divine personhood that the faithful find their best model of personality, caring attitude and Christ-like motivation to the stimuli of life — including lonely people.
The medication for a person's loneliness comes in doses of a single person, then perhaps another and maybe more. Thankfully, the loneliness cure can be as contagious as the malady of loneliness. When we step up to ease loneliness in a person, we give them Jesus, at least a tiny touch of him.
Make Christmas merry.
Bill Webb is editor of Word&Way.