It's a time when the basic truths of life and death hit us in the face. It's amazing what you learn about folks at memorial services--I found out things about my own husband that I hadn't known. Some of my favorite family stories I heard at these times; and I really enjoy hearing stories about lives of faith.
So many of our happy memories are about people in our lives. People can bring joy, people can bring sorrow. God said in the beginning that "it is not good for man to be alone." The first relationships we have are in our family; at their best, families are good for each other and bring joy to our lives. The most recent service I attended was for a lady who had lived a long and happy Christian life. One thing that was said, was that for her, "every day was a good day!" She had parents and sisters that were an important part of the joy of her life. She had not married, but she still had children in her life that were important to her, and to whom she was important. One niece told me that "she was my best friend." She was a special source of joy to her many nieces and nephews; grand-nieces and nephews, and even grand-grands. She was a long-time schoolteacher, whose students who said she was the best teacher they had had; who had good and grateful memories. She had had good friends and neighbors in her life. What I heard was the story of someone who had been blessed and been a blessing in a long life, and was looking forward to the joy of her Lord.
This made me think of the aunts and sisters-in-law who were special in my own life, as well as my own nieces and nephews. Being the youngest in a spread-out family, my nieces and nephews run from my age down to almost my kids' ages, and I grew up with some of them. I thank God for the many good folks that He has given me as family, and the many good and joyful memories with which I have been blessed.
One of the main messages of I John is that loving God and loving people are the two sides of the same coin. He loves us, and He gives us people to love and to be loved. If we are connected to Him, we are enabled to relate in love to those who share faith, and be a witness to God’s love to those who have yet to find it.