Tomorrow Is Easter. I’ve been gluing paper to the outside of an empty food box to fill with goodies to surprise the kids since I didn’t get Easter baskets. I’m not sure what we’ll have for dinner: I guess I’ll see what’s in the freezer. We won’t be spending it with family or friends: this is not the typical Easter. People are lonely. People are hurting. People are dying.
In the sadness and disappointment of this year, there’s a depth of emotion that exists because of the suffering that our normal Easters lack. For most of us Easter has become about family and candy filled eggs, hams and bunnies, spring and celebration. We sing about the resurrection at church or on a hill at sunrise, and then rest & relax in the fun of the day. But I think that in our usual celebratory activities and busyness, we miss the gravity of Easter.
I didn’t really grasp the true weight of Easter until I spent one Easter weekend mourning the loss of my uncle. Standing at the graveside, I realized that the first Easter was much more like the funeral weekend I was experiencing than it was like the normal Easter morning at church & afternoon hunting for eggs.
For the followers of Jesus, the first Easter was filled with shame, grief, and confusion before it was filled with celebration. It took some time for them to realize that Jesus had indeed come back to life, proving himself to be God like he had claimed, and taking the punishment we deserve for our mistakes so we could have a right relationship with God.
True Easter is more about stripping away the trappings of humanity and realizing our desperate need for God, only to discover that God – through grief, pain and a sacrifice so difficult we could never understand – showed just how much He loves you, me, and every single person to ever walk the face of the earth.
I don’t know what you have lost this holiday, but my prayer is that the loss will cause you to really steep in the true significance of Easter. As you think about that first Easter, may the gravity of the sacrifice that God made for humanity cause you to understand God better than you ever have, and then that you would truly REJOICE.