Much of the global Christian church is currently commemorating the dead.
Death is a thief. Christianity states that it is one of the Great Enemies (along with Sin, and the Devil).
Christians also believe that Christ has conquered death through His Death and Resurrection.
This puts Christians in the position of hating death, yet not despairing of it. Hating it as the great enemy–yet not despairing because we know (by faith) that it’s not ultimate.
So Christians are invited to grieve–and to grieve with hope. A strange, paradoxical mingling of emotions–a full and robust range of emotions.
We’ve had a lot of death this year. It’s touched us all. We’re all grieving. This is important. Grief, expressed by our lamenting hearts, is a type of love-song.
So, I propose a toast in loving memory of whomever you’ve lost this year:
“May the same Jesus who wept at the funeral of his friend Lazarus–knowing full well that he was about to raise him from the dead–may this same Jesus be especially close to our grieving hearts as we remember our beloved dead. May He give us the strength to remember well, to live each present day with an awareness that life is precious, and fill us with courage and hope. I may not know your deceased loved one. But I honor them–and I honor your love for them. God bless you.”