Memories of departed loved ones always make holidays and other special occasions a mixed blessing. We are blessed by recollections of the joys of past observances, but subdued by sadness due to the absence of those we love.

The date Easter falls on this year seemed to magnify those conflicting emotions. Easter, March 31, is the day before my mother's farewell began. On April 1, 2008, she discovered she had an inoperable brain tumor. That was little more than a week after Easter of that year.

This year the April 1 preamble of death falls backward onto the most joyous day of the Christian year. However, this joy-sorrow combination is already a feature of every Easter celebration.

Jesus' ultimate sacrifice and brutal death on Golgotha on the first Good Friday are why Christ was born, but that does not make those final hours any more pleasant to think about. However, without His death putting to death both sin and death itself, the resurrection we celebrate on Easter would not have taken place.

The dark sorrow of Good Friday is forgotten in the Eternal Light of Easter. God also gives us the consolation of knowing that the sadness over the deaths of those we hold dearest is ultimately dissolved in the promise of eternal life that Easter gives us.

Thanks be to God, we have the hope and promise of meeting our loved ones again in God's presence one day and then for eternity.

Then the alleluias of Easter will never end.

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God's love transforms

temporary sadness into unending joy.