I have a confession to make. As much as I really do love Christmas, I find it difficult, every year, to really and truly make the holiday about Jesus. There is just so much going on–some of it Jesus-related, most of it not–and in reflection, I’ve realized I rarely feel closest to Jesus in December. I give you a lame birthday party, Jesus, and I am sorry for that.
Now my thoughts turn to Easter.
The Easter bunny, God bless him, just doesn’t feel as distracting as Santa, does he? I enjoy that Easter candy comes in small eggs rather than the large, wrapped presents of Christmas. I enjoy that the Easter bunny keeps a peaceful distance and normally deposits his goodies in my back yard versus Santa’s secret intrusion into my house. I enjoy that in the midwest, we are anticipating and waiting for a break from the cold as we contemplate the darkness of sin while we wait for our Savior to abolish it. And to be honest, who doesn’t love a bunny? I love that the Easter bunny is a bunny.
Easter feels like a quieter time. No big office Easter party. No Easter cards being made on Shutterfly with expedited shipping to hopefully get them out on time. Maybe we should fault our culture for not celebrating Easter with more pazazz, but I’m actually seeing a major plus here. Without the distractions of lights and trees and getting our houses ready for the big Christmas Eve dinner, maybe there will actually be time to sit with Jesus and hear the story God so wholly invites us to interact with and understand.
I have another confession.
As I read from the book of Matthew today about the events leading up to his death, there were details that I had forgotten about. Judas’ suicide hit me with a new sting. An earthquake, rocks splitting, tombs opening–wow–such drama. I heard the crowds saying “crucify” and Jesus surrendering to a fate he would never have chosen for himself. I found myself saying “It’s almost too much” out loud. Reading how the most loving man was treated in the most horrific way is almost too much for me.
While my eyes well as I type this even now, I am grateful for the ability to feel something when I read the Easter story, because it is perhaps the most beautiful, dark, hope-inducing and mind blowing story I can think of. And, frankly, it’s a lot more interesting than the Christmas story.
It’s not too late to have a heart that’s ready to celebrate Easter this Sunday. I invite you to prepare by refreshing yourself with what really happened in the days leading up to the great Christian holiday. I think you’ll be glad to interact with the story before Sunday, and I think you’ll be glad to interact with it straight from the Bible itself.
This is where you could start: