Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter: It's All About Me

As a little girl I loved Easter. What's not to love? My sister and I always got a new "Easter outfit" which included a frilly dress of our choosing, lacy socks, shiny new patent leather mary janes, a hat and even little white gloves. No, I'm not nearing 80, that's just the way my mom wanted to do things.

Coloring enough eggs to exhaust a barnyard of chickens, we were artistic geniuses. The night before the big day we'd be filled with butterflies of anticipation for the beautiful, loaded basket that giant rabbit would drop off in exchange for the large carrot left as an offering of gratitude...and yes, we believed!

Up at dawn, we'd marvel at the lovely loot bestowed upon us and eat a few pieces of candy before breakfast. Church was fun because we got to show off our new clothes and find out how much the Big Bunny liked other kids.

Off to Grandma's house for Easter egg hunts until the last adult finally said no more. Aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents sat down to a table laden with what we now call comfort food. Throughout the day we were depleting our stash as the marshmallow peeps, chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and malted milk eggs were consumed.

Um...and there was something about Jesus. Any of this sounding familiar?

I'm not one to condemn any tradition that results in family togetherness and forming sweet memories, but perhaps there's a better way. I realize now that the Easter celebration I grew up with was all about me: my appearance, my stash of goodies, my fun day.

Honestly, it's still all about least that's what Jesus would say. He lived in our challenging, abusive, hurt-filled world for me. He died a brutal death, at the hands of hateful people for me. He defeated death and lives on, for me. Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

For those who love the fun family traditions like I grew up with, maybe there could be two days of Easter celebrations. Perhaps Good Friday or even on Saturday, we could spend a little time remembering this man who brought each of us so much more than a wicker basketful of colored sugar. We could deliberately try to relate to Jesus by recalling our own (comparably shallow) experiences of pain and sacrifice for others. We could spend some time being still, soaking in God's eternal expression of love that encompassed the very first Easter.

"Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! ..." Psalm 105:1. We could write Him a sincere letter of thanks. We could teach our kids to draw a picture or use other artistic methods to create a gift expressing grateful hearts.

Our wonderful God doesn't want us to throw away fun times or eliminate lasting traditions or replace them with a stiff, obligatory religious ritual. He loves to see us smile, hug and enjoy treats. But I believe He'd delight even more in the way our spirits would respond to an intentional interlude basking in His presence. Not for His sake because Easter is all about us.

How do you separate the fun traditions and the true meaning of Easter? What was your Easter like growing up? Comment below.
Diane Markins


Julie Ferwerda said...

God is indeed stirring your heart to the higher things Diane! Easter is not about Jesus and it never was. We must return to the God-establish holy days and leave behind the man-made holidays. Passover (death of Jesus our Passover Lamb), Unleavened Bread (having the sin removed from our lives), and First Fruits (resurrection of the First Born over all creation) are established by God and are all about His SON and His plan of redemption for mankind! This has been a beautiful, liberating journey for me in the past couple years, learning about the Feasts and why Jesus has all but disappeared from our celebrations (because we have replaced the God-ordained holy days). I LOVE your post--as always it is rich and thought provoking and convicting.

Love you, sis!! Happy Passover week!

Jeff and JIll Williams said...


Our Easter's were similar during my youth. Thank you for fond and 'bittersweet' memories.

We were a bit deluded, eh? Part of the grand plan of the 'tempter/God of this age/The father of lies...etc.' Our parents did the best they knew, as did we w/ our children.

As History marches on toward the grand culmination of this drama, we might be seeing things a bit clearer. That is how I hear your blog today; a clarion call to make it all about HIM!

Thank you for faithfully writing from your soul.

brotherly love,


Joan C. Webb said...

Appreciate your Easter post, Diane. And I identify.

Nancy E. Mink said...

Greetings, Diane. Thank you for putting into words the way I feel! You especially brought it home when you mentioned that, even with Christ in our hearts, it still is "about me" much of the time. It's hard to fully comprehend the sacrifice and gift Christ has given us. You lift my spirit with your writing. Thank you for sharing and spending the time to write to us in your blog.