When the sunlight broke over the horizon that first Easter Day, it carried with it the dawning of a completely new aspect of human life. Before Easter, life was a gift, but a finite one. People were born, they lived existences which differed in accord with the various circumstances into which they had been born. They loved, helped each other as best they could, and they fought and struggled too; and then they died without much thought or hope for anything beyond the grave.
With that first Easter morning, however, life took on a different nature. Life, because of the crucifixion to which Jesus was willing to submit himself for our sakes, and because of the truly overwhelming implications for us as individuals of his resurrection, was transformed sometime in that space of time between the sunset of the night before and that momentous sunrise.
Each Easter, it seems to me, is unlike anything else we experience in our lives. We prepare for Easter each year through the forty days of Lent. Nonetheless, no matter how hard we try, not only can we not “do justice” to a celebration that is anywhere near the scale Easter calls for; we also cannot even begin to fathom the magnitude of the importance of Easter in our lives and to all of creation.
Because of Easter, our lives have a forever quality. Because of Easter, everything we do, think, and feel takes on significance. Our beings—bodies, souls, minds, emotions, spirits—that is to say everything we experience as integral parts of us, matter; we make a difference for better or for worse. That is why we have been created: to make a difference.
I imagine that our attempts to reflect this in our lives fill heaven with joy. For now, it is nothing short of holy to stand at the empty tomb and be consumed with gladness that our Lord is alive. To fill our homes and churches with spring flowers to represent the sweetness of the winter’s being behind us; to gather together to give thanks to God in song and prayer and happy fellowship, and to carry this celebration on for fifty days because one day could not begin to even come close to adequate; to give baskets of goodies and gifts to children, and dress in our best clothes, and prepare a festival day dinner—all of this and more says, “I cannot begin to figure out how to respond to this wonderful news, but this I know; it is far too wonderful not to do my best to respond somehow!
I wish you and your families the happiest of Easter Days and a holy and blessed fifty days of celebration of the eternal life that Jesus died and rose again to give us.
God Bless You,