Palm Sunday was yesterday. I barely even thought about it. In fact, the only emotion I registered toward it was shock—can Easter only be a week away?
And it hit me how even before December 1st, all I can think about is Christmas. Why don’t I have the same excitement about Easter? I know the secular hype around Christmas is exponentially greater than it is for Easter. Plus, Christmas is always the same date, but Easter changes yearly, making it harder to anticipate. I also realize that actually participating in Lent and paying more attention to the church calendar would help prepare me for Easter.
I don’t know, I think it’s also that Easter feels so important. I mean, obviously Christmas is, too, but not like Easter. If it weren’t for Easter, Christmas wouldn’t really matter. There are so many foundational, crucial theological truths contained in the story of Easter, and I guess I just feel scared of thinking about it. Like I’ll think about it wrong. Like maybe I’m not being serious enough or thankful enough or doctrinally correct enough. Not that those are bad things—I should be those things. But fear from them keeps me from truly delving into Easter, I think. I shy away from the whole thing altogether, for fear that I’ll do this Easter thing wrong.
But isn’t that the whole point of Easter? To take away my guilt? To say that yes, you don’t do anything right, but Jesus can? I can’t believe I let Satan’s lies steal my joy of Easter like this, but I do. I got all these voices in my head / I need some truth up there instead …
Okay, so truth: The truth that Jesus loved me while I was still a sinner. That he loved me enough to die for me. That he still loves me and always will. That he rose again and conquered death and has not given me a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. That he condemns me no longer but instead intercedes for me.
I think maybe, if I keep those things in my mind, I can start really thinking about Easter again, even rejoicing in it.
One of the things I love so much about Easter is that the day we celebrate was the actual day the event we’re celebrating happened, two millenia ago. The thing about Christmas is that we don’t know when Jesus was born. It almost certainly was not December 25th—one pastor I heard said that it was probably spring, because that’s when the sheep would have been outside. But Easter—it was this exact day that Jesus rose again. The thought gives me shivers.
In fact, each day this week, there’s something Jesus did that the Bible records, something that happened two thousand years ago today. Easter makes my faith feel a little more real. It kind of drives home the point that what I’m believing is truth. I’m finally feeling excited about Easter, and I grab my Bible to read the account of what happened today on the first Holy Week.
I look out the window, and it’s snowing. Snowing. On the Thursday before Easter. That just feels wrong. I associate Easter with sunshine and flowers, not puffy winter coats and stuffed noses. I wince a little as I think about these fat flurries falling on the hyacinths that have sprung too soon. I hope at least a few of them can weather it. At least the tulips haven’t bloomed yet.
It’s in my nature to feel like I need to find some meaning in this Easter-snow. There’s some kind of deeper truth behind it that I need to untangle. But honestly, I can’t find it, so I just press my face to the window and give thanks for the pretty, unexpected surprise of the snow.
Then I think that the fact that I can give thanks—that I can pray directly to God—is because of Easter. The curtain was torn in two. I love that part of the story, and I can’t wait to read it tomorrow.
Tomorrow. Funny how we call it Good Friday, and how I always mix it up with Black Friday. Black Friday kind of makes sense, though—the skies were black, our sins on Him were black. When I was little, I used to think it strange that such a sad day was called good. I still do, a little, but now I know that because of the blackness of it, it could hold goodness too. And it’s all grace, that goodness, because every moment of every day for every human should be black with despair and our own shame. But now, it doesn’t have to be. We can have hope, and we can be forgiven. I’d call that good.
The snow falls for a little while longer, swirling in praise of our good God.