- Holidays and Celebrations
The Beauty of Easter
Let every man and woman count himself immortal. Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection. Let him say not merely, "Christ is risen," but "I shall rise." ~Phillips Brooks
Yes, there is something, and someone that will always make Easter very very special for me. I know it's an event millions of Christians all over the world celebrate, but, it has a very profound meaning for me, it's mindboggling. It's been many years since my conversion, and there is not one day that comes and passes that i don't thank God for who He is and the many wondrous things that He has done. To me everyday is Christmas and Easter!
I see Divine handiwork everywhere... when i see people's lives restored from brokenness, when i walk in a garden, and see flowers in bloom, miracles of babies born... and in acts of kindness, when the world come together driven by compassion in aid of victims of tragedies. I am at peace, no longer at war within. I find myself not challenging God when i don't understand life as it happens. I have learned to trust Him, His sovereignty, and His unfailing love. I don't think that i have become a 'more religious' person, but it is my wish that i become more like my Savior and Lord Jesus, who came to this earth to show me and you how to live.
Still today, i am perplexed by the fact, that my mom and dad passed away, two years apart, on Easter. I don't believe in coincidence, and especially not in the case of the two most beautful people i ever loved. It's hard to deal with death, but when God took them on the day His Son Jesus rose from the dead and went up to Heaven, i felt so assured, so comforted, my parents were safe in their eternal abode.
Several years ago, I was miraculously reunited with an old sweetheart. And out of nowhere, he picked our wedding date to fall on Easter Sunday. He said it would be a day to symbolize the ressurection of our love, God's restoration and goodness who had turned our 'mourning into dancing'. Indeed it was everything we wanted our dream wedding to be. As if it were not enough, God surprised us by splashing the sky above us with two sets of rainbows that blew us away! What a wonderful Easter treat, our hearts were filled with joy unspeakable!
I was raised in the rituals of Christianity, and i believed the Easter story as taught in the Bible. We were a church going family, abundantly blessed, and with so much going for us. Young and sheltered, nothing prepared me for what lay ahead. The series of tragedies that struck our beautiful home was straight out of hell, that blew me away, and made me wonder what kind of God would allow such horrible things to happen. The domino effect of the events crushed my fragile faith. I became confused, and it didn't take very long to completely be disillusioned with religion. I questioned the veracity of a belief passed on by my parents, and pounded in our brains by preachers, Sunday after Sunday. I was bitter with a God i hardly knew, and as i drifted away from Him, like a stranger he too seemed to have vanished into thin air. Still, I was inconsolable, and much affected by the suffering and pain i saw up close. It didn't help that i felt alone and dejected. .
I took the blows of life as they came, and with every punch, i became more callous. It was a lot like, 'Ok, there is no God. i'm on my own. This is my life, and i will live it the way i want'. I am the master of my own destiny. I am my own god". I didn't pray, and for a long time, i refused go anywhere near a church, except to attend weddings, wakes, and baby baptisms. It didn't matter that there were pressures from religious family and friends, they knew nothing. Christian holidays, Easter included, have become no more than secular events. I indulged the superficiality of the celebration, never mind the shallow human spin, like egg hunts, Easter bunnies, name it. Easter was a non event, a time to go off with friends, and party. But, party till you're blue, once the dust had settled, i felt a huge void in my heart, a gnawing emptiness. I held my ground against God and everything i had believed about Him, and i dug deep. Guess what? God didn't give up on me.
It didn't matter that i thought God didn't care, and that He was not at all interested in me. I was proven wrong. HE proved me wrong (not by some human), many times over. I may not have cared about Him, but, i discovered that this 'feeling' was never mutual. To know Him, is to be liberated from ignorance. I found that He was, and is never offended by mine, nor anybody's snobbery. That 'He is not disillussioned with me, because He has never had illusions'. That the God that He is, is much bigger than any wrong that we can do, either to him, and to ourselves. That we can rebel and be 'bad-asses', and HE LOVES US despite us. Well, this may be hard to comprehend, but, i did find this out in a way that i now am full pledged believer. And there's no turning back. I love that GOD LOVES ME! That is the beauty of Easter, that we are not without hope. The cross is more than a story. For, we may be dead to sin, but, because of what Jesus did on the cross, there is forgiveness, life abundant, and eternity. We are redeemed. And, there is a re-start button. Some things may die in our life, like a dream, but, it's not over until God says it's over. And with Him, nothing is impossible.
I know now, that God has always been with me and watching over me. When i think about everything that i have done in this life, given every decision and choices i have made, the ups and downs, the high and lows, and in between, there is no doubt how God has been involved in my life. 1980 is the most significant year for me. It was at a critical crossroad of my sinking self charted life, that i was most distraught. Came my Easter, when God threw me a lifeline to save me, and I would experience the most wonderful spiritual awakening that changed me forever. I will never forget that day, and precious moment, when my sister and a dear friend, lovingly led me in a prayer of surrender to God. It was then, i 'met' Jesus Christ, understood who he was and what he did on the cross for all mankind. I opened my heart to Him, as Lord and Savior, and i knew i would never be the same. I felt a peace i have never known before, and i sensed burdens lifted off my shoulders.I soaked in, like sponge, scriptures that were read to me. I took to heart, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. " Galatians 2:20
This is the beauty of Easter...because He lives, we too shall live.
Meet the man called Jesus...
"He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:3-5