I absolutely love Easter. I love everything about it. Every year I can hardly wait for that Sunday in April (sometimes March) when pastors in pulpits all over the country, all over the world, proclaim “HE IS RISEN” – and congregations will respond with exuberance – “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”
It is my very favorite time of year. I love singing the old hymn, “He Lives, He Lives, Christ Jesus Lives Today!” I love sunrise services, little girls in frilly dresses with matching pocket books and hair ribbons, lace on their socks and patent leather shoes that go clip clap on the floor. I love seeing the little boys in their seersucker Easter suits with bow ties or clip-ons, shirt tails half out, hair tousled, shoes untied , one pant leg covered with grass stains and a mischievous look on their faces. I always wonder what they’re up to – running around the church grounds after Sunday School carrying rumpled papers that tell the story of Easter, He is risen!
Easter baskets! As a child I had my favorite candies that I hoped for every year. All of it was disgustingly sweet – an assortment of beautiful pinks, purples, yellows and greens. Oh how I loved it! There was no breakfast on Easter morning….too much candy….and stomach aches later! Such fun.
Grandparents spend hours filling the little plastic eggs with change, messages, candy…and then hiding them in the yard in advance of the long-awaited and all-important Easter Egg hunt. No time to change clothes…the kids run madly from one tree to the other, looking under every bush, in the hidden nooks and crannies, soldier-crawling through the grass (hence the grass stains) and rummaging through flower pots, garden tools , under porches, in the dogs water bowl, the birdfeeder, the mailbox, the hole in the tree, tire wells, wood piles –anywhere and everywhere they can think of, searching for the hidden treasures. They push each other out of the way. They snatch eggs from each other’s basket. They laugh, they scream, they shout…..some even kick and squeal….it’s Easter, He is risen!
Easter Sunday dinner. I love a spiral ham covered with brown sugar glaze and heaps of homemade macaroni and cheese. I make mine with eggs so it’s not only cheesy, it’s custardy. Green beans boiled with fatback… cooked down to nothing, wilted and dull, with tiny potatoes that sop up some of the salt….genuiiiine southern! Cornbread baked in the cast iron skillet in oil so hot that it sizzles when the batter is poured in….makes the cornbread crunchy and brown on the outside, soft on the inside, smothered with real butter. I absolutely should not eat any of it…..but it is a celebration…after all, it’s Easter, He Is Risen!
These are traditions…passed down from family to family. They are precious. I embrace them as part of who I am, why I am the way I am, where I come from, and where I am now.
There’s no doubt that the world has worked overtime to transform Easter into a commercialized, materialized, intentional diversion filled with chocolate bunnies, stuffed animals, elaborate baskets –anything to distract us from the Truth. But the truth is that nothing that the world does could ever change the Truth.
If the death and resurrection of Jesus is not evidence of God’s great love for us….if His selfless act has no significance past, present or future…..if He is not the only way to salvation…..if Easter is not a celebration of the redemptive power of the Cross to save all of mankind, paid in blood by the sinless Savior, the Lamb slain ….then why is the world compelled to divert our attention?
So beloved – this Easter while you are out and about buying candy, shopping for Easter Sunday outfits, planning your special meals, baking cookies, coloring Easter eggs and hiding them in the yard, assembling your Easter baskets….remember, and don’t forget, why we celebrate. Enjoy it! It is such a special time of year….a time of rebirth. It could be your day of salvation!
And when you see the world making its scrawny, tired, sorry effort to somehow minimize the power of Easter….rejoice and be glad! Their attempt, though intended for evil, is a sure testimony of the power of the Cross. It is a blessed distraction.
It’s Easter……HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!
….Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen….. Luke 24:5,6
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