Growing up in the Midwest, I looked forward to Easter for a number of reasons.
I knew it was the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. I believed it then and hold to the truth of it even more now. Life and hope.
And a party. We’d celebrate with lots of family, food and fun.
Mom would get us new outfits. Bright and colorful, fabric reflections of spring.
For more years than I care to remember, it snowed on Easter. Spring and snow shovels don’t coexist pleasantly.
As our family has grown, we’ve moved around the country quite a bit. From cold, gray springs in Wisconsin to hotter, more humid ones in Florida. I’ve learned I can whine about the humidity as readily as I can about the cold and gray. Go figure.
I still love Easter. The hope it reflects. The promise of life and light.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the furry, fuzzy little creatures. And my sweet tooth lies in wait for the return of jelly beans and chocolate eggs. Walking through Target and seeing the little Easter dresses on display brings a smile to my face.
Which is why admitting I’m the one who bought the baskets and candy for the grandkids feels sleazy. More than a little disingenuous. I’m complicit in the cultural push towards Easter’s focus being anything but meaningful.
I’m not proud of it. But I find that this is my life on most days. Deeply drawn to the spiritual. Distracted continually by the world around me.
I have the attention span of a gnat. The wayward heart of a prodigal.
But that’s the beauty of Easter. It isn’t about what I can do. Or how I’m able to follow through on great intentions.
It’s all about the One who left glory and beauty to live on earth amidst darkness and mess. And die in my place. Because I don’t have what it takes to save myself.
“Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in Me and believes in Me will never ever die.'” John 11:25-26
The world wants to default to bunnies and candy. Because it feels safer than having to admit no one can save themselves. Feeling safe, however, doesn’t make it possible to get to heaven.
It took death for that to happen.
Easter isn’t just a day. It’s a reality of hope in the darkness of life. A hope offered. Fully paid for. Freely given.
Not what I’ve done or can do. What Jesus has already done in love for me.
I’ll trade my jelly beans for that any day.