The Day of the Dead (or in Spanish, dia de los muertos) is a holiday celebrated throughout most of Mexico Nov. 1 and 2.
Families gather together to pray for and remember those who have died and help support them in their spiritual journey. It’s quite a festival and celebration, and it has even reached the point where it is recognized by other countries outside of Mexico.
We observe All Saints Day on Nov. 1, which is a day when we remember those that are now fulfilling and living into their resurrection.
For many of us, there is a strong fascination with and perhaps even fear of the concept of death and what happens to us when we die. When considering that, the questions that arise are:
- What do we believe?
- Where or with whom does our faith reside?
- Are we fearful or anxious of that day we all know will eventually come?
There is a certain truth that is bound to apply to all of us: The fact that all of us have walked (or continue to walk) with fear and anxieties in this life.
Perhaps we are fearful of the deterioration of a relationship, or an unexpected financial burden suddenly placed upon our shoulders. Maybe our biggest fear is, and has always been, death itself; or anything having to do with the unknown, or something we do not fully understand or comprehend. Whatever the case, chances are we have had some encounter with fear or anxieties in our life—some in the past, some that are present, and others that are in store for our future.
What I don’t want to see in this world is a bunch of people paralyzed by fear. If fear causes you to not go out at night, or down to the local shopping mall, find a way to dig up some courage or find some faith in safety. If fear paralyzes you enough to prevent you from making decisions or taking some actions, look to God to find a source of comfort and faithfulness. If the possibility of terror influences your decisions and inhibits you from remaining faithful or doing something for good, let your mind go of that negative influence and noise that is convincing you the next terror attack is right around the corner. Fear can negatively hamper one’s life, and in a very big way.
What we need to refrain from doing is continuing to focus on our differences and qualities that set us apart. If fear truly is to be eradicated, we must have faith and keep from seeing that which separates us. Instead, we need to find that which brings us together and connects us.
What we need to carry us through all of this certainty and uncertainty is the knowledge and assurance that God is indeed faithful. God has not left us and will not leave us.
In the end, when we are met with our own mortality, we can know that no matter what, God remains faithful. Whether we are living, dead or living again, our God never waivers. What we should know is that when it comes to death, whether that be ours or someone else’s, we have faith in and worship a God that is not a God of the dead, but truly a God of the living.
While others mourn and are leery of what death really means, and what might have happened to their loved ones, we do not need to guess and we need not worry.
When it comes to death, fear should be the furthest thing from our minds. We should not be anxious. All of these threats that overwhelm us and incite anxiety within us will be null and void eventually, even—or especially—upon death.
Our God indeed is the God of the living, and since we are living, we are all God’s blessed children. And, as Christ reminds us, those who are dead to us are alive and well to God.
And that is where we can find our comfort and quell all our fears.