When I was a little girl, Easter weekends were spent at Grandma Libby’s house in the thriving metropolis of Milan, MO. The Easter Bunny always did such a good job hiding baskets for my sister’s and I to hunt. Sometimes it was hard to go to sleep on Saturday night because we were so excited about getting up the next morning.
On Sunday morning, we dressed in adorable little dresses and hats and headed to the United Methodist Church for the Easter Cantata.
The church was always decorated with white Easter lilies and purple tapestries on the walls and pulpit. Grandma Libby was the pianist at the church for over 40 years, and I’m pretty sure we sang the same songs every year. Some of my favorites were:
- Christ the Lord is Risen Today (Alleluiah)
- Up from the grave He arose (He arose)
- He Lives
- The Old Rugged Cross
I’m honestly surprised I remember so many of these hymns, but listening to them again make me smile and remind me of Grandma Libby, who passed away in 2009.
After church, we headed back to Grandma’s house where Easter dinner magically was already done cooking. We always included ham, mashed potatoes, corn, beets (bleh), jello with bing cherries and rolls. There was always an assortment of desserts, too.
Little did I know at the time, but God was working on my heart when I was a little girl. I wouldn’t fully understand what His love and His grace would mean until I was in my early 30s. Now that I have this relationship with Christ, and it continues to strengthen every day, I know it’s okay that I wasn’t open to a relationship with Him when I was a child.
Before I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, Easter used to be about the Easter Bunny, egg hunts and finding the perfect items for my daughter’s Easter basket. Don’t get me wrong, those things are still perfectly acceptable to do, but just like Christmas, Easter isn’t about the gifts. Easter means God gave us the ultimate gift when he sent his son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins.
For those of you who haven’t accepted Christ into your hearts, this isn’t meant to be some rant from some super religious person to get you to drink the Kool-Aid. Before my relationship with Christ, I was a path of destruction, spiritually, emotionally and physically. I wasn’t doing anything illegal, but I was really struggling with some things in my life. I felt like something was missing. I was afraid to trust God because I was afraid he was going to let me down. Now, I trust Him completely.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11
He knows what my future holds, and it’s going to be so great! I wake up seeing each day as a gift from Him. Why do I trust in God? How do I know He lives? Just like the hymn says, He lives within my heart.
I’m so blessed and so grateful for the peace, patience, love and joy that God continues to give me every day. I hope you’ll allow Him to give you the same gift, too!
So tell me friends, what does Easter mean to you?