My children have inherited my undying passion for family history and after they opened presents and read the second chapter of Luke my son asked relentlessly to visit the cemetery and bid a loving and cheerful Merry Christmas to my late grandparents and cousin. I confess my eyes lit up at the idea for a teaching moment had immediately dawned on me and I could think of few better lessons I could teach my little ones. We hurried out of the house as we were with no flowers, wreaths or anything else to place on the graves of our family members. No matter.
We sauntered past the very familiar tombstones to the far corner of the property, for we visit my grandparents' grave sites often and relaxed in the calm and soothing quiet and peace of the Binghamption Cemetery. I usually relate stories of my grandfather's life or describe my very young cousin's sweet disposition but today something else was percolating in my mind. My children poured out their usual love and admiration of our family who lay sleeping beneath them and as it happened, my six year old son found some artificial flowers that had blown away and into the desert on the edge of the graveyard. There were three bouquets - just enough to place on each of the sites. He indicated that this would be a good Christmas present for our family. I smiled and asked him what he thought the best Christmas present would be for them. He grew pensive and threw out a few suggestions - monuments, wreaths, and the like.
We climbed a small hill overlooking the cemetery and I asked again what the best gift anyone could give them might be. As we overlooked the peaceful grounds they again gave a few suggestions. Finally I ended the mystery and told them that the best gift they could receive had already been given to them in the darkness of a Bethlehem night over two thousand years ago. They received a Savior who could rescue them from sin and overcome even the tyrant of death. Because of Him they could live again and gain eternal life in heaven. My children took immediately to this answer and as the sun began to descend my seven year old daughter cheerfully began singing a made up song about Jesus having power over death to the tune of "Oh Susannah." I smiled. It was beautiful. I had been facing some very painful trials of my own in the last few days and had been clinging desperately to the strength and comfort of God. As I listened and looked out across the horizon peace overtook me in a calm assurance that the Lord can heal all things, no matter how devastating. Someday all can be made right, all wounds can be healed and the graves of the just can be opened in glorious majesty. May our hearts rest calmly and peacefully in the certain promise of a kind hearted God and complete redemption, and Merry Christmas.