Well, that’s not what most people are thinking about at this time of year!
Although the season is wrapped up in jolly holly and smiling faces, we often hear of the number of people who feel a deep sense of loss, especially those who have recently lost a loved one. In ministry, we learn that there is much sickness and death in the interval between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then, there is the depression that weighs down on so many.
A few years ago, I was privileged to officiate, just before Christmas, at the funeral service of a dear, sweet lady. It was a graveside service.
Much of what I shared were the wonderful things that I had learned or knew about her, interspersed with scripture passages that related to those thoughts.
However, as we drew to the end of the service and the reading of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, my favorite passage of encouragement at this time of grief and sadness, I swept my hands out and called attention to all of the graves around us.
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus…For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”
As we looked around, we were reminded that Jesus came to show us that death is not the end; the cemetery is not our final destination. Because of that child born in Bethlehem, who grew up to be the One who died on the cross for our sins, and who rose from the dead, those who know Him as Savior and Lord have hope in eternal life.
Christmas at the cemetery? Think about it.
The cemetery can be a perfect place to celebrate Christmas.
“Come, Thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release;
Let us find our rest in Thee.”