Did you men know that according to World magazine, “The sugar skull, an emblem of Mexican folk holiday Dia de Muertos or Day of the Dead is this year’s must-have Haloween décor, plastered on succulent vases, wreaths, mugs, and pillowcases. Mattel recently announced its new Day of the Dead Barbie, adorned with a floral dress and a skull-painted face, and Nike released a tennis shoe in honor of the holiday, with colored piping and ever-so-faint sugar skulls.”
Only a few years ago this holiday was unknown. But now Day of the Dead celebrations are taking place in many parts of our country. “The holiday,” notes the World article, “has established itself as a part of the Halloween retail juggernaut.” Andrew Chesnut, professor of religious studies at Virigina Commonwealth University believes, “We’ll continue to see more Day of the Dead shrines and altars……in places we wouldn’t expect. The more people are rethinking death, the more Mexican culture is becoming relevant.”
I live in a Senior living complex. My wife and I are surrounded with the reality of death every day. At our age more relatives and friends are dying. We both talk about being in the ‘fourth quarter” of our earthly journey. To me what is interesting in the World’s article is the reference to the “postive death movement.” “There is an encouragement to talk about death and plan for it. But few in the movement acknowledge any afterlife.”
Men, don’t be fearful of your own death. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for you. He tells us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-2).
Paul was torn between remaining in his body and going home to be with the Lord. “For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better” says Paul. “Yet if I live, that means fruitful service for Christ. I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: Sometimes I want to live, and sometimes I long to go and be with Christ.” (Phil 1:21-23). He reminded the Corinthians, “that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord” (II Cor. 5:6).
Men, take the lead in your family. Talk about our dying, or the dying of one of your family members. Help them visualize the great future they have because of the resurrection of Jesus. Peter tells us, “Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new lie and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven – and the future starts now” (I Peter 1:4-5 MGS).
If your kids haven’t been to a funeral, make sure they get to one when a relative or friend dies. Expose them to the reality of death. Your attitude help them to become comfortable with being foreigners in this world. In Chapter 11 of Hebrews, where we read about the great heroes of faith we are told: “They agreed that they were no more than foreigners and nomads here on earth. And obviously people who talk like that are looking forward to a country they can call their own” (Heb. 11:13-14 NLT).
So everyday, men check your perspective. With Paul remember, “we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (II Cor. 4:18 NLT). Develop that upward focus, with your eyes on Jesus and eternity.