The ONE THING for today

Why do people visit graves?

  • 1 Corinthians 15:55 (NLT) O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?

Christmas day found Sonja and me on the road heading to Six Mile to visit her mother.  On the way she wanted to stop and visit her father’s grave.  Turns out her desire was shared by many others; when we pulled into the cemetery there were dozens of people there visiting loved one’s graves.

My father-in-law and his beautiful daughter given to me on September 9, 1978

My father-in-law and his beautiful daughter given to me on September 9, 1978

Later, after arriving at Six Mile I took a walk and my walk took me by a little solitary church that provides a grave yard for its members.  Even in that isolated graveyard there was a family visiting a grave.

Why do people visit graves—especially during the holidays?

For one thing, holidays (holy days) are markers on the path of life.  They remind us of our past and the trajectory of our lives.  Holidays are like time outs in the game of life; they are moments that we can go to the sideline and think about the things in our lives that really matter—thus a sudden urge to visit the sacred places where we laid to rest our deceased.

However, I believe there is another more fundamental reason we visit the graves of our deceased.  We visit their graves because we know instinctively that they are not really dead.  We know they are not in the grave, but the grave is a holy place where we can stand and fling back into the face of Death our declaration that Death will not get the last word.

Unlike animals, we have the spark of eternity in our hearts.  Created in the image of God, with an eternal soul, we often feel a need to visit the ghosts of Christmas past and declare: “O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?

As Sonja and I stood on Christmas day at the foot of her father’s grave with the bitter winds of winter biting at our ears and hands, I felt sadness; I felt a sense of loss; but, thanks be to God, I did not feel despair.

Samuel E. Knight (September 28, 1930 – October 22, 2010) we shall meet again…in a better land.  Hold on, we’re on our way…

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 (NKJV)

2 thoughts on “Why do people visit graves?

  1. Awesome word Pastor! I always put a Christmas tree on Mama’s grave. I placed the solar lights on Moms gave 2 years ago and I love going out there at night, the grave yard is dark but when I turn the corner to where Mom’s grave is at there is always this glow of lights which always reminds me of what how she was glowing when she seen his face for the first time as she entered into through heavens gates! It is a reminder to me that we all will one day see his face never to leave our loved ones again. Love you and Sonja so very much and proud to call you Pastor!

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