As long as I can remember I have known the true meaning of these holidays. Christmas is when Jesus was born into this earth, and Easter is when he died and rose from the grave to save us from our sins. Both of these holidays have their somewhat irrelevant, though fun pagan traditions that we have grown to know well, Santa Claus and the Easter bunny, Christmas cookies and easter baskets, egg hunts and opening presents, and as always with our holidays, copious amounts of food. To their credit, my parents really tried to bring the focus back to Jesus and what he did for us. And honestly, they did a great job. I enjoyed (and still do) these traditions while not letting them override the significance of these holiday. Celebrating new life and giving are not negative things in my view, though their commercialism and scene stealing can be more than troubling. But personally, I've never had a huge problem with this, we choose for ourselves where we place importance and what we let fill our hearts and minds - though on a broad spectrum of how these side things water down the holidays, I admit it's troubling.
What I have really been thinking about with these two holidays, has nothing to do with that. I pondering the pure emotions I associate with the two holidays. With Christmas I am filled with Joy, Love, anticipation and thought for others. Warm fuzzies fill me up when I think on this time of year. A baby in a manger, family gatherings, snow falling all around (not in Jerusalem or even Oregon most of the time, but it's still a Christmas association I have,) and lost and forgotten people everywhere being cared for and loved. Simply wonderful. I can't get enough of it, and neither can my three year old daughter. She is still talking about Christmas and wrapping up pens and blocks with her drawings for me to open.
With Easter I have often thought of spring flowers, laughing children hunting for eggs, and death of a perfect man paying a price for the sin that was brought into this world and has been carried out by each and everyone of us, most specifically in my own musings, by myself. My failure, that's what I have been stuck on. Now I know that it doesn't end there, that Jesus didn't just die, but that he rose again and conquered death! This is our hope, that now we can live with him for all eternity! My problem seems to be that while it is necessary for us to acknowledge that we are sinners and need a Savior, I get to this point and stay there. I focus more on the wrong that I have done than the wrongs he has wiped away. A clean slate. Not a chalkboard wiped clear but with residue of the past as I have seemed to see it, but wiped pure as snow. This is where I need to live! We have been set free! Rejoice! Jesus has conquered the grave and given us new life. All those new flowers I see and baby chicks represent something vital I have been overlooking, this new life that I need to be living. So as you watch your little ones hunt all those eggs or simply see signs of them everywhere, be reminded that as we have been forgiven we are called to live a new life! Have a wonderful Easter my friends.
1 Cor. 15:55-57 "Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”[a]
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."