Easter is right around the corner. Grocery stores are packed with egg-shaped candy and everything is colorful and bright. It is a wonderful time of the year for the Christian who celebrates the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus. This week is meant to be all about hope, fulfillment, and joy because of Christ’s defeat of death. We will (most likely) sing upbeat Easter-themed songs that contribute to the excitement of the resurrection and our promise of eternal life with Christ.
On another hand, Easter may not be a joyful time for everyone. Author Joyce Rupp writes “I have often wondered just how many people do feel that joy deep inside themselves… Illness or other bodily changes, tragedy or other anxieties, may prevent us from feeling the enthusiasm proclaimed in the songs, prayers, and messages of Easter.”
If Easter morning comes and you do not feel the overwhelming joy that the church says you should have, Rupp encourages readers by writing that “Easter is more than a feeling moment. It is a faith moment.” The way she has learned to rejoice on the hard days is to remember all of the “little easters” that happen throughout life. It can be a simple moment of standing in the sun, receiving a sweet letter, getting a good night’s sleep, hearing children laugh, or having a meal with friends. There are so many little moments and actions that make up our days and lives. It is easy to let these moments pass by without thinking about their significance in our lives. We quickly feel defeated by any lack of excitement in life or by any sadness or pain we feel.
Easter means more than just a celebration once a year. Christ’s death and resurrection offers us life every day. Through God’s grace, there are “quiet reassurances that God keeps raising dead parts of [our] spirit to life. [We] have the hope that comes from knowing the risen Jesus is not just a Bible story.” Christ has given us the greatest gift and we can celebrate the fact that those who believe in Him get to spend eternity with Him. Even if April 21st, 2019 is not the best day or you find yourself overwhelmed by family, preparing meals, and children who don’t want to sit still in church, we can remember the gift of grace. The Lord gives us so many gifts throughout each day that we fail to notice because the negative feelings can be so strong. But this is an encouragement to take a step back and think about all the “little easters” in your life that will remind you of the presence of the Lord in your daily life.
Rupp writes, “the days of Easter will, undoubtedly, be busy for you. I would encourage you to savor them, not let them be drudgery for you… beg for an awareness of the ‘little things’ of that day.” There is a beauty to life that we will see only when we begin to notice the things that bring us joy such as “love, care, growth, friendship, faith, and courage.” All of these are little invitations to “celebrate the risen Lord every day of our lives.” I can think of many moments that have happened just today that give me countless reasons to thank the Lord. I am grateful for these small gifts of joy on seemingly normal days that remind me of the joy I have in Christ.
Scott Hubbard, an editor for DesiringGod, writes about small trials and the fact that we will all face them. Yet the hope in the midst of difficult times is that the Lord will always be a part of our good days and bad ones. We face challenges of various kinds, as Paul writes in James 1, but these trials do not negate the presence or work of God in our lives. His mercy is new and beautiful every morning. We just have to open our eyes and hearts to see all that the Lord is doing, even if it is does not seem life-changing.
Rupp concludes her devotional by writing, “May you hear the Savior call your name often in your own garden of life. May those moments inspire you to deeper faith, the kind that can carry you through feasts and seasons when your spirit may not know the feelings of alleluia.” I hope that this is an encouragement to everyone as much as it was for me this Easter season.