Yesterday I attended the grave side service as we buried my uncle, Jess Vaughn. He and my dad were brothers. I took this photo while standing there and as you can see, it was a cold dark day. Just looking at this scene sort of makes you feel the cold of the day. It’s easy to tell that it is in a cemetery because of the grave markers. The snow only lends validity to the coldness of the place. Sometimes if we are not careful, this is what our heart can become when we suffer heartbreak and loss in this life. But there on the top of the hill is a tree that just seemed to speak to me as I stood there. Being a lover of photography, sometimes I see things like this and then it’s almost like I hear the commentary that goes with it. (I know and confess to being weird. Just pray for me) This is what I heard as the ceremony took place. This scene with all it’s dark and cold, dreary look is only temporary. The tree at the top is a beautiful reminder that new life is coming. I thought about how I expect this tree to put forth new leaves and show new life when the spring comes. The snow will melt, the grass will grow and the tree will have new leaves and all will be right with the world. There will even be new flowers on the grave stones. I’ve seen it happen countless times when the dead of winter gives way to life in the spring. But, isn’t that what happens when someone dies? Especially someone who has given their life to Jesus. They have just began to live life fully and freely in the presence of the Lord. I thought about it like this. When we die, if we have been born again, our life leaves the cold dark, dreary existence that we have known and we start to live the way God intended. In His presence, free from sin, free from guilt, free from disease, free from death, free TO live. Maybe our problem is that we don’t view this life as the cold dark place that it is, we only see what we want to see and we try so hard to make it look so good. Jesus said in John 16:33 “ These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." To be sure, my life has had and will continue to have good times. But I have also had lots of bad times. Sometimes I joke about how that just as I seem to claw my way to the top of the mountain, a rock slips and I tumble back into the valley. Life is like that with all the ups and downs. Just like Jesus said, in this world we will have tribulation. This world can seem at times to be cold and dark and dreary just like the photo. But if we allow the words that Jesus said to bring us peace, then we start to view things like Jesus wanted us to. Just as I fully expect the tree to bring forth new life, I fully expect to see Jess, mom & dad, grandpa, granny, my son, my wives, and all the other family members and friends who have gone on before. At least those that have put their faith in Jesus and went to Him for forgiveness. I also expect that the moment I die will be the same moment that I begin to live. For Jesus also said He had overcome the world. So if I am with Him and He is in me and I am in Him, then I too will overcome the world. Take the best day ever that you have had, remember how you felt. How great that it was? Now try to imagine how it would feel to actually live after you have overcome this world with Jesus and there will never be another cold, dark, dreary day at the cemetery. Thank you Jesus for giving me another visual reminder of what you have in store for us. Not many people may have seen life in that tree on the hill in the snow at the graveyard, but I did. To all who read this I hope you can understand what I am trying to say. And I hope you know the reason that I can say these things. His name is Jesus. May God Bless and Merry Christmas!