A friend whose husband died about eight months ago became tearful in the grocery store last week as she heard a familiar song that had no significance to her before.
I’ll have a blue Christmas without you.
I’ll be so blue just thinking about you.
Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree,
Won’t be the same dear, if you’re not here with me.
“Why do they play songs like that?” she moaned. Psychologists say that music brings comfort and joy, but widows find no solace in this Christmas song, whether it’s Elvis’ smooth, southern voice or the classical sound of Andrea Bocelli.
The holiday season is difficult for every widow, regardless of whether she has been without her spouse for a few months or many years. The memories of past Thanksgivings or Christmases and those special moments of sharing often cloud even the best days. Knowing that nothing will ever be the same, we become melancholy and even isolate ourselves.
Those wonderful events will always be part of our memory banks, and we certainly don’t want to forget them. But, instead of counting them as losses, we can consider them as privileges that we were given for a short time. As we determine to be grateful for the days we spent with our spouses, our thinking changes and our losses become gains. We stop saying, “That will never happen again,” and we become thankful for those good times. Our outlook changes from negative to positive. Solomon, that very wise man, said, “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22, NIV).
We also can be resolved to make new memories. A widow friend determined that she was going to bless others who were having difficulty this Christmastime. Within the past few weeks, she and another friend have secretly decorated the outside of two struggling women’s homes. Their efforts brought joy to everyone involved. When we share our lives with others – whether it’s hosting a tea, preparing a meal for a sick friend, taking gifts to someone in need, or going shopping with another widow, we benefit from the experience and establish new memories.
The dynamics of the holiday season will never be the same as those we experienced in the past. But each Christmas can be filled with joy and purpose because of Jesus Christ. He is the One who helps us turn our losses into gains and gives us a heart that reaches out to others.