If I am asked about my favorite holiday, hands down, it’s Easter! It has always been the most special day of celebration for me. Easter growing up meant a day of utter and total tiredness. It was exhausting but wonderful! It was a glorious day from the sunrise service that began long before sunrise to the Sunday night service that ended as the sun finally set.
A new dress and shoes were always necessary, not simply because it was my family’s tradition but because it celebrated newness. Of course, living in upstate New York, there were times that the Easter dress was summery and the weather outside was snowy. But I loved it anyway. I remember several Easters plodding through the snow in my summery shoes and short sleeve Easter dress, determined to act as if spring had sprung. But it was never about the clothes!
The high schoolers of the church put on the sunrise service. We would sing, play guitars, read Scripture, and pray, and one of the older kids would give a short message about the meaning of the Resurrection. And as we worshipped, the sun would finally rise in the sky. Then came the Easter breakfast, which my father-in-law made. Of course, I had no idea then that he would be my father-in-law. He ordered dozens and dozens of fruity and cheesy danish from Mt Pleasant bakery. The danishes were the size of your face, and he scrambled hundreds of eggs and cooked pounds of ham. Delicious is not even adequate to describe the taste of that early morning breakfast. Wafting through the chapel building were these amazing smells, including the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Isn’t it funny how some smells stay in your memory? But it was never about the delicious tastes and smells!
Then came Sunday School and the Easter morning service at church. I knew it was Easter when the pastor proclaimed, “Christ the Lord is Risen.” The congregation would respond,”“He is risen indeed!” And then the organist, my future mother-in-law, would begin the song, Christ the Lord has Risen Today! Now without any doubt, Easter had arrived! We could fully celebrate! Of course, there were so many other unforgettable parts of Easter day, baskets full of candy, Easter eggs, a ham dinner together as a family, and then back to church for one more service. But it was never about the baskets full of candy and the delicious family meals.
So, what was it about? It was about the life-changing hope of knowing that Jesus had triumphed, he had been raised again to life, and he had shown the world that God’s plan for redeeming a world gone bad had moved along full throttle. No one could stop the Almighty God’s plan. It was done. It was finally finished, and Christ had paid the price and had risen victoriously. Jesus had accomplished the one thing the enemy wanted more than anything else to stop.
For me, that one monumental act of Jesus, his Resurrection means everything. From the very moment as a 7-year-old, I knelt by my twin bed and asked Jesus to come reside in my needy little heart; Easter became special. It means I can know for sure where my eternity will be spent. It means I have received a newness of life where the bondage to sin no longer exists. It means freedom for this once-captive soul. And it means an abundant life is mine to live here on this earth. For the believer in Jesus, Easter is the piece de resistance. Nothing is better! Nothing in life has meaning apart from this incredible act of love and triumph. Nothing is more glorious or worthy of such celebration.
For the believer in Jesus, Easter is never really about the chocolate bunnies, the family celebrations, pastries, or new dresses. It is about an empty tomb and the risen Jesus who came to bring us a new chance, a new hope, and a new life!
Christ the Lord is Risen! He is risen indeed!
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
4 thoughts on “Hands down, It’s Easter!”
You are an awesome writer
Thank you for the beautiful words
Love you lots.
Thank you, Mom!
And thank you for all those years of playing Christ the Lord is Risen Today!
Thank you for your well written piece. I have similar memories of Easter back in the late 1970’s and 1980’s at First Pres, and so miss those days. As I read your piece, the tears came. So many changes now, and so many folks have gone to Heaven or moved out of the area. Christ is Risen! Have a Blessed Easter!
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Memories are so precious and sometimes so hard. Just writing this blog made me a bit nostalgic as well. I am so glad that God is steadfast and immovable- nothing changes with Him! Christ is Risen!