Q: I dread holidays like Christmas and New Year's, because my husband died a couple of years ago, and I can't help but remember all the good times we had during those times of the year. Now all that joy is gone. Will I ever get over this? -- Mrs. J.M.
A: I have found that the death of a loved one is somewhat like major surgery: In time the pain will lessen, but the scars remain, and you'll always remember the years of happiness you had together. Although it's been several years since my wife, Ruth, went to be with the Lord, not a day passes without remembering the joys we had together. And yes -- holidays can be especially difficult.
But let me suggest two things that I have found helpful. First, take time each day not only to recall the good times you had together (especially around the holidays), but to thank God for them. No, they'll never return -- but let your memory of them bring joy and thanksgiving to your soul, and not just sadness or regret. The Bible urges us to be "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything" (Ephesians 5:20).
Then ask God to help you look beyond the past to the future, and to find ways to bring joy to others. No doubt you and your husband brought joy to your friends and family during the holiday season -- so don't let it stop! Pray for others; let them know you care; be a source of encouragement and help. In other words, don't focus only on yourself but on others and their needs.
Most of all, focus on the real meaning behind every holiday season -- especially Christmastime. Because Christ came into the world we can have hope -- hope for today, and hope for all eternity.
(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: www.billygraham.org.)(c)2017 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.