by Joyce Webster
Pasco, Washington

Why dread the holiday? This Christmas can be different and exciting!

My first year as a widow found me frustrated because I couldn’t locate my tree decorationsI finally gave up and purchased some inexpensive new ones.

Later it occurred to me why I couldn’t find the old ones, even though I had prayed a lot about itThe Lord didn’t want me sitting and staring at the tree with sad memories pricking me as I reminisced through past years when Warren and I had snuggled and enjoyed the lights togetherFor seven years, we enjoyed Christmas activities with our church family in JapanAlthough we missed our children and friends in the States, in our hearts we knew we were in God’s will and where He wanted usThis year, however, God wanted me to enjoy a new color theme, sparkly lights with quiet music playing in the background, and my favorite holiday candle wafting the smell of cinnamon everywhere.

The years have flown since Warren graduated to HeavenNow Mom and I enjoy Christmas in our new homeI love to decorate right after ThanksgivingWe prepare our hearts and minds for the coming holiday, which helps us not only to endure it, but also to anticipate the time our out-of-town family members will spend with us, enjoying a great meal, reading the Christmas story before our gift exchange, and taking pleasure in a special time of singing Christmas carols. We look forward to greeting friends we haven’t seen for a while, as well as those special ones whom we enjoy frequently.

Practical Ways to Bless Others at Christmas

1. Purchase a poinsettia in honor of your husband. Donate it to your church as a decoration during part of the Christmas holiday.

2. Honor him with a day sponsorship to a Christian radio station.

3. Purchase a gift that your husband would have liked and donate it to a pastor or a missionary who could use it in his ministry.

4. Pause and think of those less fortunate throughout your city, state, country, and the world. Count your blessings as you pray for them. Send a donation through your church to a ministry that assists widows in other countries.

Send Some Fresh Encouragement to a Widow

• Invite her to help you prepare some baked goods to give as gifts to friends and family, such as breads, cookies, candy, some roasted pecans, or simple crafts. The fellowship will bless you both.

• Make a holiday wreath for each of your front doors.

• Shop together for supplies to assemble a handcraft for an underprivileged child.

• Invite her to help you decorate your tree and/or home, and the next day do hers.

• Help each other put up your outside lights. (Enlist a teen if needed).

• Put her name on the Christmas caroling list at your church.

• Volunteer together sometime in December to help serve a meal at a local mission.

• Take her on a short sight-seeing trip to view Christmas lights; then stop and purchase an ornament for your trees as a keepsake. End with coffee or tea and later purchase her favorite flavor as a gift.

• Make some gift baskets together for other widows or some nursing home shut-ins who have no one coming to visit them during the holidays. Make plans to enjoy delivering them together.

• If she doesn’t have family in the area, invite her to your house for Christmas dinner. Perhaps she would like to come early and help with the meal preparation.

• Make her a tree ornament personalized with her loved one’s name with gold or silver glitter. Give her small pieces of colored paper to match so she can write special memories on them to put inside the ornament.

Increase your joy this season. Relax, ponder, and let go of the hassle of trying for perfection. It only overwhelms.

Dear widow, you are loved! Please enjoy this Christmas season.

TAKE HEART: “The Lord…relieveth the fatherless and widow….” (Psalm 146:9b)