As a little girl I loved Easter. What’s not to love? I always got a new “Easter outfit” which included a frilly dress of my choosing, lacy socks, shiny new patent leather mary janes, a hat and even little white gloves. If I was lucky I got a purse too. No, I’m not nearing 80, that’s just the way my mom wanted to do things. The night before Easter we would dye enough eggs to exhaust a barnyard of chickens. My parents and I were artistic geniuses. It is amazing what a crayon and some food dye can do. One year we died with natural dyes. It was so much fun. Anyways, the night before the big day I would put my basket by the door in anticipation of the goodies I would get. Yes, I believed! Up at dawn I would hopefully get to scarf down a couple of jelly beans before church. I had an allergy to chocolate as a kid so I never got a chocolate bunny in my basket. I did get a vanilla one once. It tasked like flavored wax. After church we would gather at friends for a giant neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt. This was before families took plastic ones and filled them with candy. These eggs were real and the grownups could hardly wait for us to find them, so they could begin eating them. There would always be a prize egg and the winner would get a bag of goodies. It was a grand day! I remember vaguely someone saying something about Jesus. Is any of this sounding familiar?
I’m not one to condemn any tradition that results in family togetherness and forming sweet memories, but perhaps there’s a better way. I came to realize that the Easter celebration I grew up with was all about me: my appearance, my stash of goodies, my fun day. And you know….honestly, it’s still all about me…at least that’s what Jesus would say. You see, He lived in this hurt-filled world for me. He died a brutal death, at the hands of hateful people for me. He defeated death and lives on, for me. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” For those who love the fun family traditions like I grew up with, maybe we should spend a little more time remembering our Lord who brought each of us so much more than just a wicker basketful of colored sugar. We should spend some time just being still, soaking in God’s eternal expression of love that encompassed the very first Easter.