I found an interesting post on The Conventicle blog entitled, "Here Today..."
He touches on the medieval idea of memento mori in which people of that time would often include reminders of mortality in their writings, paintings, and the various other common facets of life. While some of the paintings, for instance, seem amazingly morbid or fanciful to the common person, the Bible constantly reminds us of our brevity: we are dust (Ps. 103:14), grass (Is. 40:6, 1 Pet. 1:24), and a mist that quickly vanishes (James 4:14).
In our society's efforts to suppress the truth of God, it seems that many have sought to soften the blow of death. Modern man seeks to deny this reality of death through fanatically trusting in medicine, glorifying death in movies to make it seem unreal, or simply avoiding the reality of death by living a life of pure, unadulterated hedonism (and I don't mean John Piper's Christian hedonism either). Either path will only lead to despair.
However, as believers, let us always remember that only Christ has defeated death, and we can only find that eternal life through a relationship with Him. Let us consider the brevity of life, and may that fact remind us to be diligent to spread the life-giving gospel of Jesus Christ.