Easter has come and gone, another year breezing past. It has been a big week for everyone and with ours coinciding with Spring Break and my daughter’s birthday, this year was particularly full for us. However, now that the festivities have died down and life is beginning to look more “normal” (if there is such a thing), I have taken the time to reflect on Easter.
As much as I love Christmas, in the past few years, I’ve come to see that Easter runs a close tie in being my favorite holiday. The world in my hemisphere, leading up to Easter, has broken out into spring. It is blooming and buzzing and chirping. New babies with fluffy down or soft white tails are venturing into a big new world. The colors — so vibrant and bright after the winter drab — are bursting everywhere you turn and it all collaborates to shout the message “We’re alive!”
This is the message of Easter.
During the seasonal preparations of Christmas, the holiday rush is upon us. Consumerism and commercialism have run rampant and the stress accumulates and then culminates all in one clash of activity on Christmas Day. I love almost all of it. The scents of cinnamon and pine. The gift wrapping and giving. The excitement of my kids and the decorations all around the house. The general feeling of goodwill and the sense of delight. Christmas is wonderful.
Then comes the long dull march of winter which, in my part of the country, means a lot of brown, dead, and dry days turning into weeks and eventually stretching out to last about three months. We may get a dusting or two of snow during that time which incites squeals of delight from the kids and chaos in the school and transportation systems, when all roads shut down or experience delays. Within 24-48 hours, usually, the snow melts and the gray of winter returns. The hope of Christmas seems a long time in the past.
But one morning, the green shoots pop their heads out of the brown earth here and there to take their first glimpse of the new year. The sun gradually slides a little further north and offers a little more warmth. Before long, the signal seems to have gone out to all, and the ground squirrels are digging whole new condominiums in my yard; the spring bulbs are blooming, the peach trees are pink against a backdrop of white almond blossoms and the winter coats are abandoned.
It’s a slow, subtle creep, almost unnoticeable until finally Palm Sunday rolls around, and it’s impossible to ignore. Easter is coming.
With Aslan on the move, winter is giving way, the snows are melting, and color is being restored to our lives.
With the rush and flurry surrounding Christmas, everyone making plans to hit all the parties and show up at each family’s house to give equal face time and to host the annual caroling or give the perfect gifts, it’s a grand flurry of excitement and energy that one needs to recover from.
Easter is just the opposite. It sneaks in so quietly, a gentle whisper on the breeze, a subtle rumor in the scent of spring, a slow thawing of everything cold and dead. Its offer is life — new life! — rescue and restoration making everything full of hope and second chances. It’s another run at getting it right, or at least better. It’s a sloughing off of the dead skin, the dead ends, and the mistakes. It is a do-over opportunity. It’s a chance to breathe deeply of the free air again.
And all it asks is that we stand with our toes gripping the edge of an empty grave… and worship.