I followed this up with a short power nap before our three children, their respective spouses, and their sons (and our seven grandsons, each under the age of six) all showed up for a joyous afternoon and evening of festivity. There are sixteen in our immediate family these days; and a quarter of these celebrate their birthdays in April.
Hence, our entire clan gathered for a combination feast, birthday party (complete with cake, cupcakes, and ice cream, and presents), and an enormous egg-hunt. A great amount of fun was had by all as we celebrated life and the Lord’s blessings upon us!
I say entire clan; but sadly, one of us was missing: my father-in-law. After a long, full life of 90 plus years, he passed on to glory barely a month ago. In fact, this is the first time our entire family has gathered since his funeral. Suffice it to say that his absence was noticeable. More than one person commented on his empty chair as well as his missing persona. Still, we managed to hold our grief in check, choosing not to focus so much on our loss, but rather on his gain.
Besides, it was on another Good Friday, nearly 2000 years ago, that another family of believers faced the death of one they too loved dearly. And while that was a tough day for them, their grief was also short-lived. For barely three days later, on that very first Easter Sunday, their focus manifestly shifted away from death and toward life. This happened because the one they thought they had lost was suddenly found to them once again. In the process, their loss turned into their gain!
While we sorely miss one we loved so dearly, we know that our loss is his gain. What is more, we know that he yet lives; and that one day, we too shall be reunited with him and live as fully even as he now lives.
So yes, on this Good Friday, it’s been a really good day for my family and me. This has been made all the more true by the fact that this Good Friday will also be followed by Easter Sunday. For Fridays may involve a little grief; but Sundays always involve a lot of joy! And that always puts whatever sadness one may face as a result of separation and sorrow into its proper perspective!
To quote the Apostle Paul: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”
Trust me... That's good stuff!
NOTE: Speaking of good stuff, Cheez-It Chicken essentially consists of boneless chicken strips, first buttered and then battered in a concoction of ground up Cheez-It crackers, before being baked to perfection. Recipes abound online. If you’ve never done so, you really should try it. After all, it is likely to be on the menu at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!