This year, we all experienced a different sort of Easter celebration than ever before. At our house, we had a simple dinner with just 4 of us. Nothing like the Easters past when we had a houseful of children, or grandchildren. After church we would do the traditional egg hunt and then we did a scavenger hunt. Each year Randy would write a series of riddles that were clues. Each child got a different color and had to follow their clues to a surprise. It was great fun to watch them racing around the house and yard to find their next clue.
No egg hunts or scavenger hunts this year. Any interaction was by phone or online. You might expect all of this to make me sad, but it doesn’t.
This is because of something God has been teaching me over the past year or so. It was confirmed the other day when I listened to a dear friend who spoke about what we might be called to “unlearn” during this strange season of pause for the world. You can listen to her devotion here. It would be well worth your time.
So what has God been calling me to unlearn? I believe it is the idea that we need things to go a certain way for holidays to feel special. This year has been a lesson in how I can celebrate holidays without my family surrounding me. For decades I have experienced a large gathering on each major holiday as well as for the many birthdays each year. With seven children, we had a birthday almost every 4 weeks for most of the year. Each celebration was a reason to gather the family—and it was usually at our house since it was the only one large enough for the whole clan.
This lesson had its beginnings earlier last year but came into clearer focus last Christmas. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, Randy and I found ourselves alone on Christmas Eve. We went to the Christmas Eve Service at our church and as we walked out into the warm Florida evening, I was overcome with thankfulness. I was so grateful for the true meaning of Christmas. It was such a simple moment, but it was profound. Everything that used to represent Christmas was not evident. There was no snow, no gifts or stockings, no family gathering for a big meal and celebration. But the true meaning of Christmas was very much alive in my heart.
Fast forward to Easter. Again, through circumstances beyond our control, we were by ourselves. We rose early and listened to our pastor’s sunrise devotion, then later watched the Easter Service online with thousands of our closest friends. Then we went to take a walk and were surprised to find several dozen colorful plastic eggs decorating our flowerbeds and sidewalk. Friends had come in the cover of darkness the night before and scattered the eggs. Inside we found symbols of the Easter story.
So today I am again reminded that Easter, like Christmas, isn’t to be found in the events of the day. Instead the real joy is found in celebrating the first Christmas and the first Easter. It’s in the birth, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. And in the knowledge that He came for me.
He came for you too. Take a moment today to thank Him for coming to earth and trading His life for yours.
“He gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people for his own possession, eager to do good works.” – Titus 2:14 (CSB)