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Death Around the Holidays

November 30, 2009

I’ve attended two funerals in the last three days.  Both were solemn celebrations of lives well lived, families well loved, and God well served.  It is a tremendous blessing to be at those kinds of funerals.  As I sat in the funeral service earlier today, I was reflecting on the positives and negatives of having a loved one pass during the holiday season.  Does it leave a dreary cloud over Thanksgiving or Christmas?  Or, is it a reminder to remember their life and praise God for it on an annual basis?

A Scripture was read that helped me to believe it is the latter.  It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. -Ecclesiastes 7:2-4

It is wise to come to grips with death and to be assured of our place in it, because we will all die.  These few verses do not mean that it is wrong to feast, celebrate, or laugh.  The wisdom contained in them teaches the reader that believing those pursuits to be the most important of life will be a short lived reality and a temporary pleasure.  Only when we realize the brevity of life and the fragile state in which it exists will we truly be able to celebrate and experience authentic joy.

Although it is hard to remember loved ones who have died, especially during family celebrations, God uses those memories to make us appreciate our time more and look toward the joy of the life to come for all those who are in Christ, Jesus.

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