Remember last Easter? You were coloring eggs and filling baskets with chocolate bunnies and treats. Flowery dresses and crisply-ironed shirts were hanging at the ready for Sunday morning church. You chatted with your relatives about who would bring the rolls or fruit salad for your gathering around the table. At community egg hunts, our kids were racing across grassy fields side by side. This year, it might not feel like Easter at all as we quietly stay home for another day. Yet in this season, it just might be the best Easter our families have ever known.
How is that even possible? We celebrate life at Easter. Yet for most of us, death is everywhere. The pandemic is taking lives around the world and in our own neighborhoods. Moms and dads are suffering the death of their jobs and careers. Our parents or grandparents are watching their retirement savings evaporate. High schoolers grieve the loss of prom, graduation, sports, and spring concerts. Kids feel the hurt of cancelled birthday parties and school days. They miss the daily joys of play dates at the park and sleepovers at grandma’s house. Day after day, someone or something we held on to is just gone.
Two thousand years ago, it wasn’t much different. Jesus rode through the gates of a city whose families knew oppression. Poverty. Disease. Fear. Death. He looked on their suffering and he cried. But he didn’t just watch and weep—he went to the cross to give the hope of life to every single person in that place.
Jesus knows death. He experienced it in the most brutal, horrific way we could imagine. Because of what he suffered, he’s right there with us in our suffering. He feels just how raw and broken you are in your grief. But the resurrected Jesus knows life—is life—and he offers it to you, me, and our families today. Perhaps in this tender place of loss our families can fully take hold of what Jesus came to give. This Easter, we can celebrate life in him that’s better and higher than anything.
Our prayer for you and for our own family is to have the best Easter ever. The best, because we’re free from busyness. We know how vulnerable and fragile our lives really are. The habits and comforts we clung to are gone, leaving us bare. God has allowed us to be emptied so he can fill us with himself. And as we’re filled, we’re going to discover life and fullness of joy that no death in this world can take away. What a reason to celebrate!
Jesus replied, “The hour has come
for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Very truly I tell you,
unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains only a single seed.
But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
“Anyone who loves their life will lose it,
while anyone who hates their life in this world
will keep it for eternal life.
“I have come into the world as a light,
so that no one who believes in me
should stay in darkness.”
(John 12:23-25, 46)
For God, who said,
“Let light shine out of darkness,”
made his light shine in our hearts
to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory
displayed in the face of Christ.
(2 Corinthians 4:6)