Q: My husband died this year after 54 years of marriage, and I’m dreading Christmas. I’ll be all alone, since our children live in another part of the country and can’t come this year. We always loved Christmas, but it’s going to be very depressing. How can I deal with this? — B.F.
A: I certainly can understand your feelings; although it has been several years now since my wife, Ruth, went home to be with the Lord, I still miss her every day. I’m thankful some of my family will be with me at Christmas, but Ruth always loved the holidays, and we’ll be saddened by her absence.
How can you keep from being overwhelmed with sorrow this Christmas? Let me suggest three things. First, look to the past. God gave you and your husband many years together; have you ever stopped to thank him for this? In other words, don’t let the loneliness of the present crowd out the happiness of the past.
Second, look to the present. All around you are people who are lonely or grieving or discouraged. Ask God to help you reach out and be a friend to them this Christmas. It may be someone you already know — in your church or among your circle of friends. Invite them to dinner; take them to a Christmas program at your church; in small ways let them know you care. They need you, and you need them.
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Third, look to the future. Jesus came into the world for one reason: to make it possible for us to be with him in heaven forever. The more we focus on eternity, the lighter our burdens become. In Christ we have hope, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or go to BillyGraham.org.