In the classic 1930s movie, “Death Takes a Holiday,” Death personified wonders why humans fear him. He decides to find the answer by becoming human for several days and mingling with the mortals.
And while Death takes a holiday, nothing dies.
Oh, that it were true that Death would be on holiday when we are about to lose a loved one.
But, of course, Death never goes on vacation.
“Death takes a holiday” has a completely different meaning for those of us who have lost someone we love on or around a holiday. When a loved one dies at holiday time, Death takes part of the holiday with him, and the holiday will never be the same as long as sad memories linger.
My mother, dad, and grandmother died, years apart, all very close to Easter. Much time has past since then, but still it’s somewhat hard to approach Easter with heartfelt joy. I miss my family. I miss my mother insisting that I always bring the same dessert for our Easter Sunday dinner—a coconut covered lamb-shaped cake from the bakery. I miss my dad singing in the car on the way home from church:
“Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes.”
I miss my grandmothers, both of them, toasting Christ’s resurrection with the only glass of sherry that they’d have all year and chattering about their senior issues and aches and pains.
I miss them.
Mercifully, God prepared me for those Aprils when Death would arrive at our house—April 4, April 11, April 19—long before my loved ones died. God knew that they would be going Home at Easter time, so He prepared me. He gave me the best of all gifts—salvation. I was saved on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan on a cloudy April 3rd day. At the very moment when God came into my heart, He opened the clouds just enough for rays of sunshine to stream down and reflect on the water.
I will never forget that wonderful gift and God’s perfect timing. He gave me something to celebrate in April, something to prevail over the remnants of sadness that would cast a shadow on Easter time.
Some of you are mourning the loss of a loved one this Easter, and while you suffer through the pain I ask that you remember this:
Death might take a holiday, but God does not.
He will never leave you.
Look for Him in your grief. He’s there. Ask Him to bless you with something to celebrate, something to part the clouds of sadness and send rays of sunshine into your life. Then trust Him to do it.
You know that He will
because God loves you—
in this life and in eternity.
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