Crosses in a Row - A Family Devotional


Lord, help us to remember those who have given their lives in service to others.


Bible Reading of the Day: Read John 15:9-13.

Verse of the Day: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13, NIV).

Vijay gazed out of the car window at row after row of simple white crosses that dotted the green hillside. He watched wordlessly as his parents pulled the car to the side of the cemetery road. Father pushed a button, and the car trunk popped open. They got out and walked to the back of the car, where Vijay’s parents removed a few garden tools and three small flowers.

Each member of the family took a garden trowel. Following his father’s instruc­tions, Vijay knelt at a simple grave and then, imitating his parents’ movements, dug in the dirt at the foot of the grave marker. Vijay’s parents planted their flowers in the dirt and then helped him to do the same.

The whole task took no more than fifteen minutes. As they stood, Vijay spoke. “Who is buried here, Father?” he asked.

Father answered with a man’s name that the boy had never heard.

“Was he a member of our family?” Vijay asked.

“No,” Father said.

“Why do we plant flowers on his grave?” Vijay asked.

“He was a soldier,” Father answered. He made a sweeping motion with his arm to indicate the rows of white crosses. “All of these people were soldiers.”

Vijay looked at the markers. There were too many to count.

“Before you were born,” Father said, “your mother and I became citizens of this country. We were not born here. We have not had to fight for the freedoms we have. But these soldiers gave their lives for this country.” He paused. “We come here every year,” he said, pointing to the newly decorated grave, “to say thank you to this soldier for giving his life for our country.”

“How did you choose him?”

Father cleared his throat. “We asked the people in charge of the cemetery.”

Vijay nodded solemnly. His face brightened. “So we have adopted him?” he asked. Vijay knew that his parents had adopted him when he was just a baby.

Father smiled. “Yes,” he said. “It is a small way to honor all those who gave their lives for their country.”

Vijay took his parents’ hands. They walked to the car and put their tools away in the trunk. As they drove away, Vijay again gazed out of the car window at row after row of simple white crosses.

TO DO: Decorate the grave of a family member, serviceman, or servicewoman today or this weekend.

TO PRAY: “Lord, help us to remember the people who have given their lives to serve others. We remember Jesus, especially—the Savior who gave his life for us all.”

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