Holidays! Oh how I love them! Ribbons, wrappings, flags, fireworks, turkeys, pilgrims, Santa's, lights, hearts, and even egg laying bunnies! Oh, and did I mention Candy??? The hustle and bustle of each holiday brings with it excitement for the big day with all it's splendor.
We are standing at the eve of another such holiday. The world shows us how it will play out. The stores are filled with candy, bunnies, eggs and decoration upon decoration just waiting for our purchases! The lines for those overpriced but coveted Easter Baskets grow longer each day. What child wouldn't want one or two? What parent wouldn't spend their last dollars to buy one? I mean come on, it's Easter for goodness sake.
The presents of Easter shine and cause out little ones to spend sleepless nights with anticipation of what they will receive. Our eyes as parents/grandparents wait expectantly to see those little faces light up with joy when they see their awaited gifts. Yet again lost in the fuss of commercialism is the true meaning of the holiday upon us.
The presence of Easter! Have we forgotten what Easter really is? In the presents of Easter have we lost the presence of Jesus?
Let's take a walk back in time and see if we can find what so many of us are missing and are desperate for.
As I open my Bible and begin to read the accounts leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus I find the presence of Easter in Gethsemane.
It is in Gethsemane that we see the anguish of Jesus, fully man, fully God and fully devoted to His purpose. As he prayed for His Father to take the cup from Him the pain he began to feel from that which He would face poured out of Him as drops of blood. I look at the price for my sin alone and the anguish I feel during this season of grief but I can hardly fathom the weight of the sin of a fallen world being place on one man's shoulders. With one word He could have changed everything, He could have said no, but he chose Love.
Easter is also found in the heart of a mother. This young mother whom like you and I, carried hope and dreams for her young son. As she pondered and treasured the words spoken to her by an angel, was there anything in her that could have seen the future? Now she stands at the precipice, the place where her heart will break and the son she loved will face His darkest hour. There was probably nothing that could hold her back from attempting to protect her child yet she chose Love.
It's found in the cross! Let's close our eyes for just a moment and picture that old rugged cross high atop a hill with the body of a man nailed to it. Imagine the wounds, the blood, the mockery and undeniable hatred that men of 'honor' held for the man of God. Yet, in that moment: "It is Finished", there must have fallen an eerie silence upon the crowd as the sun darkened and the veil was rent. I can only imagine that some felt a deep sense of loss while others a deep regret and fear. On that cross Jesus could have turned a deaf ear toward our sin, our pain, our weakness, yet He chose Love.
Ultimately we find Easter and hope in the empty tomb. As the women approached the tomb to anoint Jesus' body with burial oils they found the tomb empty. Fear and confusion must have filled their souls but in the days that followed hope began to pour forth as the realization of Christ's resurrection became evident. Today, some 2000 years hence we continue to have a great hope of a future, one in heaven for eternity, one that will never be lacking or troublesome. Hope of spending our forever's with that very same Jesus who so willingly said yes to death and no to self all because of Love.
Also in the empty tomb we find peace. I doubt there was peace in those first days when the women found the tomb empty or when the disciples learned about the mystery of the missing body. Yet, in the days that followed and now with our knowledge and hindsight view we have peace! An everlasting peace that allows us to walk day by day through our Gethsemane's, our broken hearts, our crosses and our emptiness and know He walks with us. He will never leave us nor forsake us, because of Love!
That hope and that peace bring me to my knees in humble adoration. How can I become so lost in eggs and bunnies when there is such a hope for my eternity, for my forever? This Easter season it will be my privilege to spend time in prayer at my own Gethsemane, the place where my soul meets Jesus' heart. My prayer is that each of you is able to do the same. Rest in the Lord as you Seek and Find the Presence of Easter.
Considering Easter with Great Joy, Cindy
Authors Note: This Easter (April 24) marks the 4 month point since my husband's passing and this 'new' journey of grief began. It is going to be a rather tough day but I still remain humbled and joy-filled at the prospect and Hope of our eternal future!!