Bible teacher Bo Stern had years of great Christmas celebrations – until her husband was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).

“We were able to outrun some of the sorrow, but when the holidays came I found myself facing what had always been such a wonderful time and feeling like I was on the other side of it. I felt like I could look through a window at the happy celebrations but I felt like I didn’t belong there.”

Bo realized that she was at a crossroads. She knew she couldn’t continue down the path she was on and she recognized she had three options. She could ignore her pain, fake her way through it, or find rescue in God.

Bo admits that her first inclination was to just ignore Christmas because of what she was going through.

“I would have left everything in the boxes, I wouldn’t have tried to do Christmas but I had young kids and a husband who is counting his Christmas seasons carefully. We couldn’t afford to just throw one out because I couldn’t handle it emotionally.”

She knew that faking it wasn’t an option so Bo decided to lean into the Christmas story.

“I took a couple of weeks and read the Christmas story in every Gospel, in every version, going back to Isaiah when Isaiah prophesied about the birth of Jesus to find out what I was missing about Christmas.”

Even if she didn’t feel like she belonged in the typical American Christmas, Bo knew she belonged in the real Christmas story.

“I can see where Jesus came to those in exactly my situation, who were sitting in darkness and didn’t know how they would lift their head off the pillow that day. Those are the ones He came for and it helped me to kind of find my place in the story.”


Bo Stern is a sought-after speaker, writer and a teaching pastor at Westside Church in Bend, Oregon. She possesses a unique gift of making complex theology accessible and exciting and loves finding new ways to help people fall in love with the Word of God.

Highlight : Learning to hope in the midst of hurt

When holidays hurt

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