Celebrate Love

In many cultures, families gather at grave sites and hold birthday parties for their dearly departed.  I’m talking decorations, cake, singing songs – the whole she-bang!  Really!

A place that, at one time, represented mourning and deep sorrow is now the venue for great celebration.  Is that odd?  And what if your loved one is not buried but, was cremated.  Do they forfeit their right to the annual festivity?

The whole thing fascinates me, really.  Then, I got to thinking…

Eighty-one years ago, today, my Grandmother (I affectionately called her, “Grammy”) was born.  Almost 6 years ago, she traded flesh for eternity.  Is it odd that I want to celebrate her birth even after her death?

To be honest, I’m just not a “party-at-the-grave” kind of girl!  And she wasn’t either.  Her ideal celebration involved a gathering of all her children, their children, a good meal, and a round of card/board games.  She didn’t care too much about decorations.  She wasn’t much for dressing up.  She didn’t have a list of “wants” for gifts.  And she was okay not to have a room full of guests.

Her treasures were found in the faces of her family.


Many have adopted the saying, “God Danced the Day You Were Born”, which was encouraged by the verse in Zephaniah 3:17 that says:

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

It’s a sweet sentiment.  One I’ve shared with friends on their birthday.  But, as a believer in Jesus Christ, I can’t help but think that the biggest celebration, the biggest dance marathon, came the day my Grammy died.  The day she traded flesh for eternity with her Savior.

I honor my Grammy on her birthday because the love between us was unique, special, and unbreakable.  She sang songs to lull me to sleep, prayed over me when I was afraid, held me when I cried, and listened when no one else would.  Her laugh was loud and obnoxious, her talent with crochet needles was a sought after blessing, her style was eclectic and funky, and her heart was bigger than the sky.  I was generously loved by her.  I love ALL of her, still!  And I miss her every day.  I am grateful for her birth.  But more excited that I will dance and celebrate with her again, in heaven!


How do you honor the birth of a loved one that has passed?  Do you “whoop it up” at the grave? Do you go to dinner at their favorite restaurant?  Maybe you gather with family members and exchange “remember when” stories.  Maybe you just sit quietly and reflect on the time you had with them.  My guess is, whatever your tradition, it is rooted in the celebration of love.  When our lives intersect with others and hearts are connected, death doesn’t end the love that is born.  And that is worth celebrating!