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Monday, November 3, 2014

Celebrating the Saints

This past Saturday, 1 November, was All Saints' Saturday in Sweden. Swedes set aside the first Saturday in November to return to the grave sites of their loved ones who have passed on to place wreaths upon the graves and light candles in memory of their beloved. This past Saturday we had the opportunity to visit a very beautiful graveyard in Skogsö near Saltssjöbaden, a spot we have passed countless times in our boat. 
For me, of course, this year was especially poignant as the loss of my parents still holds a prominent place in my heart. Our friends had thoughtfully brought candles for each of us to light at the public memorial site in honor of our loved ones. I found a spot near the water to leave the candle for mom and dad. The wind was up so we had to move it to a spot under the cross, which also seemed quite appropriate.
It's a beautiful tradition and when you visit the graveyard and see the candles burning brightly, it does indeed stir one's soul. I do wonder sometimes in a culture that is so dis-interested in matters of Christian faith what these traditions mean to them. Is there hope embedded within their remembrance or is tradition simply enough? I'm so thankful to know that my parents are part of the great cloud of witnesses that cheer me on in my faith journey. I wish that hope for all.
The candles are lovely and the moments of remembrance important. But it is indeed what lies beyond the grave that gives me the hope to move forward in this life with eager joy...even in spite of loss.