Today is New Year’s Eve, and I went to my aunt’s funeral. The only surprise about her death was that it happened on Christmas Eve, and even that wasn’t too shocking. My cousin said it best today when he talked about how it makes sense she went on her favorite holiday. She had to keep fighting to see one more Christmas, before she went home to be with the Lord
When my family and I got the phone call last week, we had been out to dinner before we were going to open our presents early. It took a while for the news to sink in, especially for my dad, as this was his sister. I had never seen my dad cry before, and I have mixed emotions about it. I hate to see anyone cry, but especially my dad, who almost never does. On the other hand, it was kinda cool to see him exposed. Not hiding behind anything, but open. I think it’s good to let your emotions out, though I have a hard time with this myself. My family and I were in the kitchen, silently crying, not saying anything for a while. I thought that this felt right, that there was nothing to say right now. This made me think about other cultures where the people grieve so differently. In some countries, people wail and cry as loud as they can, and there are large funeral processions and days of group mourning. Not here in the United States. I don’t think our method of grieving is bad, but it is good to let emotions out. Even if it’s in a quiet way, like my family did, it’s still helpful to release the sadness that builds up inside.
The funeral was nice today. I mean, as nice as funerals can be. I wasn’t too impressed with the pastor who did the ceremony, but God bless him, he did his best. A few Bible verses he shared did touch me and make me think. One was a familar verse I’ve heard many times, but it fell fresh on my heart. It was John 3:16 which says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” I was thinking, “for my aunt, this promise was made good.” I mean, she believed in Jesus Christ as the only way to God, and the redemption from her sins. She just died, and that is when her everlasting life is supposed to begin. I believe that God did bring her into eternity with Him. I believe that life for her has now truely begun. Though I have known these things to be true for believers of Jesus Christ, it is like they are now being lived out before me. I see her death, and I understand better that this is the crux of Christianity. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” Though we humans face earthly death, we never truly die. Our bodies cease to work, but who we really are continues to live on in eternity. If we believe in Jesus, we continue to really live. Our everlasting life begins. Though I can’t see it physically, I can “see” how my aunt has entered into the life she was promised when she put her trust in Jesus. My aunt actually came full circle to the hope and reward all Christians have. These thoughts give me courage and strength as I know I will have to face death, but it is death that has lost its sting. After I cross it, I will enter real life.