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Article: The Loneliest Crowd at Christmas by Clay Morgan
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Article: The Loneliest Crowd at Christmas by Clay Morgan

11 Dec Posted by in Articles | 2 comments
Article: The Loneliest Crowd at Christmas by Clay Morgan

Last year I drove deep into a cemetery on Christmas Day. The afternoon was dimming and a captivating sunset over the horizon slowly dipped below the mountains like a fading fire. It was bright and beautiful to look at even from a place where death surrounded me. I was struck by how obvious the presence of God was no matter where on earth I go.

I leaned against a huge maple tree that must have been a couple hundred years old. Its massive roots drove into the soft Pennsylvania soil like anchor chains. I stood on the knots of those roots and wondered how far down they went.

There are thousands of stories buried in every cemetery, most of them blending into the forgotten background of history. That thought could be unsettling to some, but I also find a lot of inspiration in it. About 3,000 years ago David considered the vastness of the universe and asked “What is man that you are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4). I suppose I feel the same way while surrounded by death. Like the power of creation, the totality of death makes me contemplate God.

What does the God of the living see when looking down on all these graves? God is the author of life and Creator of every single soul. Not one person is anonymous to Him. If the soul never dies, then God never stops seeing anyone. What looks like hallowed ground to us is just another empty field to God.

It was really quite beautiful, that place of death. We should all take time to go wherever it is we can see and hear God most clearly. For whatever reason, cemeteries are like that for me. There’s no pretending in a cemetery, just reality as cold and hard as the stones that punctuate it. Death is frightening, but from its truth the gift of life becomes so meaningful.

You might not think that going to a cemetery on Christmas makes a lot of sense, but it’s perfect if you want to think about eternity. Christmas is when God came to earth to live the human life that would save us. The plan worked because Jesus was willing to go from a barn as a baby to a cross as a man and ended up in a tomb, a cemetery. We can look at that tomb in Jerusalem and see the same thing God sees when he looks at cemeteries—empty graves—because death isn’t the end of the story. Death is dead because Jesus lives.

Clay Morgan is a writer, teacher, and speaker from Pittsburgh, PA who blogs about pop culture and spirituality at ClayWrites.com. He is the author of Undead: Revived, Resuscitated, and Reborn about zombies, God, and what it means to be truly alive from which this post is adapted.

Note: Radiant Lit is giving away two copies of Clay’s book from December 11-15. You can learn more about the giveaway and sign up here.

Check out our Radiant Lit review of Clay’s book here.

 

2 comments

  • Jess says:

    Beautiful.

  • Jane says:

    For years we visited the cemetery every Christmas morning. My daughter is buried there. We’d turn on the lights on her battery-operated tree, and we’d say Merry Christmas to her, and then we’d go to church. It wasn’t really a theological exercise for us.

    My mother brought us to the cemetery to my grandfather’s grave on holidays too. It just feels right to include our family on important days.

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