Franklin Graham: Our Family’s First Christmas Without My Father

By   •   December 6, 2018

A Graham family Christmas in the mid-1950s before the youngest, Ned, was born. Franklin Graham takes a seat on his mother's lap while his father reads from the Bible.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold,
I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
For there is born to you this day in the city of David
a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

—Luke 2:10–11, NKJV

Dear Friend,

It has been almost a year since my father passed away. This is our family’s first Christmas without him, and to be honest, it is sad, as it is for everyone who has lost loved ones. But the joy we have is knowing that my father is with the Author of Christmas.

He’s with God, who designed the plan to send His Son to earth to be born of a virgin. When He was born, He was placed in a manger because there was no room in the inn. This is how Jesus came—it was the most humble of beginnings. Then He died on a cross with common criminals to pay the penalty for our sins. That was His purpose from birth, and it’s the reason for Christmas.

When I was a child, it was a tradition to gather around my father near the fireplace and listen while he read the Christmas story. I remember sitting on his lap, or sometimes my mother’s lap, as my father opened his Bible to read about Jesus’ birth.

Jane Austin and I did the same thing with our children, and now our children are doing it with their children, passing down the tradition of Christmas. It is a time of looking back at what God has done and looking forward to what He will do in the hearts and lives of everyone who will trust Him.

This Christmas we rejoice and praise God that my father was given the privilege of preaching the Gospel to more people face to face than any other person in history. But the job isn’t finished. We have another generation who needs to hear this wonderful message.

Franklin Graham addressed thousands in Monterrey, Mexico, in October, sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with packed crowds over the three-day event.

From Thailand to Australia

I’ll be going to Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, in January. This is an incredible opportunity God has provided for us to preach Christ in a Buddhist country. Christians are a tiny minority in Thailand.

Yet the churches, many of them small, have invited me because they are seeing an increasing openness to the message of the Gospel. Will you pray for me and for the churches? Ask God to reach lost people in Bangkok for Himself.

Then in February, I am headed to Australia to preach the Gospel on a tour of six cities across the continent. My father preached there 60 years ago, God did a mighty work, and many lives were changed. But Australia today is a nation in need of spiritual revival. Secularism has put down roots, and almost one in three people claim to have no religion at all. The Bible says, “God was moved by prayer for the land” (2 Samuel 21:14, NASB)—pray that God will touch that land and open many hearts to the life-changing power of the Gospel.

My Hope Italy

As I write, we are in the middle of our most recent My Hope evangelistic campaign, this one in Italy. We started the My Hope outreach in 2002 in four nations of Central America and went on through the years to South America, Africa, and Asia, including nations such as Russia and India, and then the U.S. As God worked, we have seen millions of people accept Jesus Christ in repentance and faith.

In Italy, thousands have already turned to the Savior, and God is stirring Bible-believing Christians there to share the Gospel with unsaved friends, neighbors, and loved ones. Close to 70 percent of the Protestant churches in the country are taking part, and many will continue their My Hope outreach through Easter—over 6,000 evangelistic events are planned across the nation. Please pray for a great harvest of souls rescued for eternity.

‘We Desperately Need Bibles’

Over the past month I have been in Mongolia, northern Iraq, and Colombia. The country next door to Colombia is Venezuela, a nation in economic collapse.

Venezuelans are flooding into Colombia to escape the misery, and millions who cannot leave struggle just to buy food. During a recent resource distribution there, one pastor said, “We desperately need Bibles. Is there any way to get Bibles?” It’s not the only place where people are hungry for their own copy of God’s Word and for study material to help them grow in Christ.

Pray for Anne Graham Lotz

My sister Anne Graham Lotz is battling cancer and has had to cancel her speaking and ministry plans for the next year. The treatments are hard on her, but she has good doctors and the will to fight, and her heart is firmly anchored in the Lord. Will you pray for her?

Thank You

Together, we work hard to reach lost people with the life-changing message of the Gospel, using every effective means available to us. We count on your prayers as well as your financial support—thank you for your partnership. Your year-end gift this month will help us reach many more people with the hope of the Good News of Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate because He is our Savior and Lord.

Have a wonderful Christmas,
Franklin Graham Signature
Franklin Graham
President