Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Easter is the Answer to EVERYTHING!

As I was on my morning walk, I saw this sign in one of the neighbors’ front yard. I looked around at other homes, and it occurred to me that there were no other reminders that the Easter season is here. Even at our local stores -- Easter décor is pretty slim pickin’s. To think that just three months ago, our homes were over-embellished with Christmas décor and an abundance of lights and animation, inside and outside, and EASTER......zilch -- nada!

Easter is only two weeks away, yet there is no resemblance to the craziness of what we do at Christmas. Besides decorating our homes, our churches, our front lawns and even wear Christmas themed clothing, we also buy gifts for our families and even for people we hardly know. Our calendars fill up for almost the entire month of December with all of the parties, concerts, and other celebrations.

The Son of God, Jesus -- His birth was a really BIG DEAL!! Without His birth, there would be no Easter. Prophets told of his birth hundreds of years in advance and Mary, His mother, was a virgin -- now that's reason enough for a noteworthy holiday! His birth stands out in history, and the story is worthy of remembering and retelling. But, then fast forward three months and based on the lack of decorating and outloud, grandiose fanfare and celebrations, Easter seems to come in almost unnoticed.

For many of us, it's on purpose. Partying isn't what we do when someone we love is facing death. In reality, for many of us, we started on Ash Wednesday to welcome this season as one where we go more introspective to a place of hallowness to realize our need to ponder -- not just the sacrifice Christ made by leaving heaven's glories to become one of us, but to walk side-by-side with Him on His journey to Calvary. No fanfare is needed. With great gratitude, we remember Jesus because of who He was and what He did, not simply because of His birth. In particular, we celebrate Easter because Holy Week marks the culmination and fulfillment of His life and work. All of humanity – ALL OF US -- were cursed and doomed to death, but during the week of Easter, Jesus assumed the guilt of humanity and died in our place so that we might live. Three days later, Jesus rose from the grave and demonstrated His power over death. At Easter, Jesus rescued humanity for all time.

So why does it seem like Christmas is a bigger deal than Easter? Is it the presents? Is it the snow, the holiday movies, Santa Claus? Is it the family traditions, the many parties, caroling and delicious Christmas delicacies?

Here is one of my fondest Easter memories as a child. We’d get up very early, while it was still dark, on Easter morning. Then we'd head to the Easter Sunrise Service held at Laurel Land Cemetery in Oak Cliff, Dallas. Yes, an Easter Service in a grave yard! That seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? But, what better place to relate to the fact that He, Who was as dead as those folks are and was entombed to be there forever, BUT, unlike those precious loved ones buried there…..that grave could not hold Him down.

A birth always seems more reason for celebrating than a death, but not in this case. From the cross to the grave to life is the grandest celebration of all because His death means life everlasting for you and me. Yes, my friends, without Easter, we would have no hope for today or tomorrow. So, how big is Easter? Oh, it's only the answer to pretty much EVERYTHING!!! So let the celebrations BEGIN!!