A Friend's First Birthday in Heaven

We gave thee gifts when thou wert here--
Bright flowers that faded with the day,
And dainty fineries to wear,
And books to read, and games to play;
But now--what shall we bring to thee now?
What can we give thee where thou art?
Gone from us to that larger life,
What dost thou lack, dear heart, sweet heart?

The joy of God is in thy soul,
His peace upon they forehead lies,
And 'round thy feet forever bloom
The fadeless flowers of paradise.
What can we bring but love that grieves
And memories that sadly cling
'Round the dear spot where thou didst dwell,
And sorrowing hope with broken wing?

Nay, couldst thou speak, wouldst thou not say:
"Are these the gifts that honor me?
Bring love that triumphs over death
And links my still to earth and thee;
And hope that weeps not at the grave,
But looks beyond the empty tomb;
And faith that sees me waiting here,
And smiling on thee through the gloom.

"And bring thy memories if thou wilt,
Dear memories of the happy past;
But know, the present's lonely way
Leads on to where we meet at last;
And find a balm for others' woe
E'en in thine own Gethsemane;
Learn there the comfort to bestow
Wherewith the Father comforts thee.

"So shalt thou share my heaven with me,
So shalt thou know the joy I feel,
So shalt thou see, o'er grief and tears,
The glory of the rainbow steal;
So shall the love that sent the cross
Give peace beneath the chast'ning rod.
* * *
Why shouldst thou weep because I keep
My birthday in the courts of God?"

Annie Johnson Flint

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

graphics and background by Mary Stephens
2020; CA