First Things First

Elijah Birthday with sisters

We all like to remember special events in our lives. Usually we commemorate important events with recurring annual celebrations. We celebrate events like holidays, anniversaries and birthdays. These were all first time events at one time, and they are significant markers for us as we watch the years go by.

First time events can be really exciting. I wonder if you can remember your first kiss, or what you did on your first date. You will certainly never forget your wedding day, or the birth of your children. Those are usually happy events. Admittedly, my first kiss was so awkward that I remember it quite vividly for all the wrong reasons!

As our lives get busy, we lose some of our enthusiasm for first time events. Even birthdays can seem mundane. Today happens to be my birthday. Thanks to Facebook, I can at least feel like I’m not the only one to notice what an important day it is! Facebook will leave a nice reminder to my ‘friends’ to send me a little word of appreciation for that first time event of entering this world as a little baby.

But not all first time events are happy events. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, you discover a whole new calendar of first time events. Christmas without Elijah came upon us less than one week after his funeral and burial. It was our first Christmas in nineteen years without him. Since we lost Elijah, I will be the fourth family member to celebrate a birthday without him. If you have grieved the loss of a dearly loved family member, you will understand why a birthday is more a time of reflection than celebration.

The pain of loss sharpens our awareness of significant events. Gone is the mundane life, with declarations of boredom and feelings of discontentment. Each recurring celebration this year is a new first for our family. Each new event is an event without our beloved Elijah.

Thanks to Elijah, I spend a lot of time thinking about the most important first time events in my life. When we lose someone we love, we focus a lot more intently on loving those around us. We value what was once taken for granted. And most importantly, we spend more time appreciating the loving relationship we have with our Lord.

As the years go by, our loving relationships are supposed to grow stronger. But they are also supposed to stay exciting. Jesus reprimanded one of the early churches when he said, “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!” (Revelation 2:4).

We have all been called to live our lives on purpose. It really shouldn’t require a significant loss in our lives to focus on what’s most important. Each new day is full of wonderful first time events, if only we would pay attention. And the greatest first time event is the chance that God gives us each new day to fall in love with Him all over again.


Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.

-Ken Buchanan

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