David's Reformed Church Congregation

David's Reformed Church Congregation
Congregation of David's Reformed Church, Montgomery Co, Ohio, Circa, 1900

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - December 22 - Christmas and Deceased Relatives

This is a reprint of the Advent Calendar post written for December 22, 2009.

                                                      The luminaries at David's Cemetery

Today's post is a response to the Geneabloggers.com Advent Calendar prompt which asks, Christmas and Deceased Relatives
Did your family visit the cemetery at Christmas? How did your family honor deceased family members at Christmas?

When I was a child, I don't remember visiting the cemetery at Christmas. We usually took my grandmother to place flowers on the gravesite of my great grandmother around Memorial Day, but for the most part, the only time I stepped foot into any cemetery was for a funeral service. I guess most people don't enjoy being in one unless they absolutley have to. Up until a few years ago, I had no idea how many of my ancestors burial places are located in David's Cemetery in Kettering. Once I began my research, I "found" them and I have been visting them regularly ever since.

But, Christmastime visits became more important after my grandparents passed away and especially after my father went home to Heaven almost 17 years ago. The cemetery provides the service of allowing the purchase of Christmas wreaths that are placed on the gravesites on December 1st. A few years ago, they began the practice of placing over 4,000 luminaries throughout the cemetery grounds on Christmas Eve. They begin at 5:00 pm and are kept lit until midnight, weather permitting. I can't tell you how beautiful it is or what an incredibly peaceful feeling it gives me to go to the cemetery on that night. It's not that I believe that my loved ones remain in the cemetery, but being there gives me the freedom to stop and remember and shed a few tears as I think about all the wonderful Christmases I spent with them.


  1. I found my dad's sister buried here in Phoenix about 5 miles from me...she died before my dad was born and she was only 4 years old when she died. The family did not live here...I'm 95% sure no one went to visit her in the 100 years after her death - she died in 1905 while her family was traveling through Phoenix...I visited her 6 months ago when I found her. I'm going back this week...I think of all the things she didn't do in her life...I also know she's not there but it makes me sad that no one has even left a flower or two...as long as I live here she will get those flowers.

  2. Lovely, not sure I have ever heard of a cemetery doing this. Some one is very dedicated to light 4,000 luminaries and keep them burning all those hours. If clapping were allowed (too noisy for such a solemn affair) I would be doing so, loudly and long.