Reflecting on Easter
I have experienced Easter about twenty-three times in my life. I decided to skip it in 1987 and was born the following day. I guess I wanted to celebrate it before being hooked to an incubator for a few weeks as a preemie. I have been to numerous churches on Easter and experienced it through the eyes of many denominations. Today I questioned just how am I to feel, act, be on this monumental day in our history. Here’s what I have to say . . .
Easter is the day where you wake up to a nice sugar rush waiting for you at your fireplace in the form of Peeps, chocolate bunnies, Cadbury eggs and Reeces. Sometimes there is a little more, like a gift-card or new Disney DVD. After than Mom garnishes you in her idea of “Sunday’s Best.” Many times we force a smile as our ties nearly strangle us to death before we can grab a Krispy Kreme or Cinnabon. You start to sweat in your outfit, grimacing over at your sister who frolics around in full knowledge that for once her brother is the one who feels her pain of Mom combing her hair and dressing her up real nice. All one can do is shake their head and sigh knowing that this is one’s payment for the sugary delight they have received.
If you haven’t beat the snot out of your sibling before reaching the church parking lot, then you are doing good. The inability to regulate one’s emotion on this day is due in fact to while Mom said no sugar till after lunch you slipped in four Peeps, three bags of Runts, two pouches of Lik-N-Dips, and twenty-four jellybeans (you had twenty-five but it is currently stuck in your nose until you sneeze it out during the altar call).
Today your church decides that there will be no children’s service. Mom makes sure you know full well that your obedience during this time will result in reward with the Easter candy in the car. “Oh, Mom,” I thought, “If you only knew that every time you bowed your head in prayer I slipped a piece of candy in my mouth!”
Some churches provide a mini-sermon before the “real deal,” as Daddy called it. Mom pushed me and “the Sis” down the pew and we scrambled with the other youngsters to sit at the bottom of the steps. While picking my nose I managed to grasp a few words from the pastor, “Jesus died . . . sin . . . anger . . .cross . . . love . . . sadness . . . resurrection . . . joy.” Those few words we caught were probably due to his more eccentric way of speaking when he had to try to teach us four to eight year-olds. Maybe that is why I named a fish after him.
Now the problem with sugar is you have no ability to sleep during the pastor’s sermon because your body is too doped up on the good stuff. So you fake it . . . closing one eye while keeping the other slightly open to see if Mom noticed you were “asleep.” five minutes later you pretend to wake up and begin to “read” the hymnal not knowing it is upside down.
Service ends and after getting pinched by twelve women Mom rushes you outside to the cherry tree to get a sibling picture. Usually this photo includes you or the other sibling crying and possibly including a little heaving. This is the result of the insulin spike from eating jellybean 24 (and 25 after you snotted it out from your nose).
The ride to Grandma and Grandpa’s is usually quick as Mom and Dad have put in music or a movie to distract you from the sugar overload. Lunch is a really a grab-and-go of sorts; eat a roll and chicken thigh and chase Cousin Bobby around the room. This continues in rounds until it’s time for the Easter egg hunt.
You get in line with your cousins outsides, prancing around with joy and determined to find that golden egg. Cousin Bobby is crying in the corner because he left is basket at church. You snicker gleefully under your breath because the plastic bag he now holds has a large hole in the bottom to which you use to your advantage.
The Easter egg hunt is always a peculiar thing of sorts. You never can find the golden egg (without help) until you reach a certain age. I think if you are below the age of nine you are color blind to it. Cousin Shelly always seemed to get the golden egg until I reached of age.
Satisfied, though, with what I found, we sit and count our treasure. As I count I have no knowledge of Uncle Harry who has snuck up behind me in an Easter Bunny costume. No of the other kids notice either as they are preoccupied as well. As I count my last egg and set it down in the grass I notice a shadow over me. The hairs on my neck tense as I turn my head slowly to find what shadowed the sun from me.
Now, had Mom known Harry was doing what he did, she would have warned him to skip me first. Unfortunately . . . she was too late. I lost five eggs in my scramble to escape the bunny and I went though my day’s supply of clean underwear. If there is one thing I hate the most, it is the fakers – the fake Santas, Easter Bunnys, and Elvis Impersonators.
As I sit on the counter in the bathroom as Dad consoles me, he had escaped all drama up to this point, he holds a Peep in my face. I feel sorry for my Dad, I really do. He did his duty and in his attempt to calm me down I “ralphed” all over his pastel polo. I still apologize to this day.
I don’t remember much more of Easter that year. Every parent knows after the Easter egg hunt every child goes downhill. My sugar spike had ended and the crash enveloped every part of me. I slept through the kisses of the relatives and the car ride home. As Dad and Mom put my sister and I to bed I mustered up enough left over energy to ask Mom and Dad a question.
“Mom. Dad. I felt happy, sad, and mad today. Did Jesus feel the same things today too?”
We as children find every way possible to cut to the core when it comes to talking about God and Jesus.
Dad knelt down and looked me in the eye. “Son,” he said, “On Friday he felt anger and sadness when he died at the cross. Anger at sin and sadness at the inner turmoil we face due to it. Today he felt pure joy for you and I because he overcome every emotion and every sin known to man.” For my age, I grasped what I needed to know from what my father said.
“I feel like Jesus today then Daddy,” I said.
That is exactly how I feel today. Christ has defeated death, sin, and every emotion possible. We so much desire for holidays such as Easter and Christmas to be perfect. We want to look great, act like we have it all together, and try to go twenty-four hours without one argument or wrong deed, but we fail.
We must recognize that Christ experienced every emotion we face daily, and that on the cross he conquered any emotion that wasn’t good. So whether today went perfect or not, know this. . . Christ is risen and has redeemed us from our faults and as a result we are free to feel and be like Him.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 NIV)
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV)