(By Lois Robinson)
Growing up, Easter was always a big deal in my house. I would look forward to getting my new fancy Easter outfit, which included a little white hat, purse and little black patten leather shoes. The night before Easter, I would dream about what would be in my Easter Basket , how big it would be and what kinds of candy it would be stocked with. I always wanted the biggest chocolate bunny!! The song was always a favorite as well....
“Here comes peter cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail, hippity hoppin’, Easter’s on its way....” Easter day would come, we would dress in our fancy Easter clothes, sit in “our” seat in church, sing the standard “easter” songs, hear the same ole message about this guy Jesus died on the cross and came back to life in 3 days and so on and so on. All we looked forward to was getting out of there, eating candy, the big Easter dinner that only came once a year and the Easter Egg Hunt that would follow. Yay, let the party begin. The Jesus thing was a formality that had to be acknowledged but the Easter bunny, Easter dinner and the Easter Egg Hunt was what it was all about for me. That is what I was taught. I even remember that the church Easter program had the Easter bunny hop right up the center isle of the church as everyone sang the hippity hoppin' song.
Let me not fail to mention, I was raised in a “Christian” home.
As I am writing this blog, very real emotions rise up inside of me of anger, sadness, confusion. Two of the most significant events in history , one being the birth of Christ and the other being the work He did on the Cross and His Resurrection......diluted down to a party involving food, an imaginary figure and a gift. Oh God, please forgive us.
Another set of emotions I am experiencing are humbleness, thankfulness and comfort. You may be asking how can I feel such contradicting emotions at once. It is very possible.....as you look below the surface you will find out:)
I am so thankful that as I have gotten older, failed a lot more and learned from those things, Jesus has shown me deeper truths about the Cross and His resurrection. I used to think it was a one time thing when I got saved but it is an everyday thing. Everyday I am a sinner, but everyday I must remember that my status changed on that Cross because of Jesus. Not because of WHO I am or WHAT I’ve done . It’s all because of WHO JESUS IS AND WHAT JESUS DID AND WHAT HE IS CURRENTLY DOING AND WHERE I FIT IN HIS STORY!
The more I get nearer to Him and He gets nearer to me, I am reminded of how ugly my sin was and is. When that reality really sets in, the Cross of Christ and His Resurrection evokes deep emotion in me. When I literally allow my defenses to drop, get quiet before Him, think of the UGLY things I have done and been apart of by choice.... and some not by choice.....and to know He literally died for all of that willingly without me even asking Him to do that for me......and then on top of that......GOT BACK UP IN 3 DAYS in order to give me the victory everyday over all those ugly things that held me down.....WOW!!!!!!! How can that not give you chills!!!
So, I am not presenting a challenge this time. I am giving a directive this time. Please do not make Easter all about the stuff I mentioned in the beginning of this blog. None of it served to bring me life, forgiveness or freedom. I am not anti- food, anti -eggs, anti- rabbits, anti- candy or anti -gifts. But I am anti-idolatry. Whenever we make anything or anybody bigger than the One who is to be Celebrated...........it leads to bondage. How you may ask:) Using my own experience from the beginning of this writing, since the primary emphasis in my family was on the party, the food, the basket and the egg hunt, the “life or emotional high” I experienced from the celebration was over by the next day. It was a form of entertainment without substance or truth. So when I encountered hard times later in life, I had virtually no understanding of why Jesus really had to die, what significance that had on my sin/circumstances and how His resurrection impacted my ability to break out of patterns of daily brokenness and sin. That is a HUGE reality I never learned as a child because “Easter” was about everything else but Jesus and the work He did for me and everyone else on the Cross. Consequently then, I walked around in bondage for a long time without knowing the true reality of Easter and its implications for my life. The Freedom that was waiting for me based on the Reality of the Cross. I tried many many things to experience freedom and none worked for longer than a day...if that. But, when I got serious about Looking below the surface ..........I began to learn what the Significant event of Easter was and IS all about. Amen
Know what you are celebrating and why you are celebrating it!