The celebration of Easter is a staple of Western tradition. Millions of Americans grow up hunting Easter eggs and searching for baskets filled with goodies. Mothers across the country wrestle their children into special outfits while dads anxiously check their watches, holding on to their last thread of patience.
It slips through their fingers when mom wants a last-second picture, turning the subsequent car ride into a tour in the Daytona 500. Mom yells to slow down but dad refuses and the kids giggle in back because he just taught them a few new words. Their vocabulary expands when dad sees the parking lot and angrily drops the family off near the church entrance so they can find a decent seat.
To everyone’s disappointment the best spots are taken and all that’s left to do is either stand in back or shame-walk to the front. Both options are equally embarrassing; straggling families might as well stamp ‘TARDY’ or ‘DISFUNCTIONAL’ to their foreheads.
Ah, the good ol’ days!
There’s Nostalgic Aspects to the Easter Holiday
Despite the chaos of early Easter mornings, I’m fond of most the memories I made.
Family gatherings, everyone dressed nicely, good food, and tons of candy are usually recipes for memorable moments. One of my favorite events of the day—before I stopped believing—was the Sunday service. The only services that could rival it were conducted on Christmas, but Easter’s was always a close second.
There was a different energy in the church on those days. People were attentive, energetic, and seemed happy to be there instead of going through the motions, like on normal Sundays. The pastor spoke with the intensity of devotion, passing the Lord’s message down to his constituents with excitement and spirit. The sense of community was strong. It felt as if I was being welcomed home by family I hadn’t seen in ages.
What moved me most was the music. I always sang with such passion (I’m sure surrounding ears wished I hadn’t) and others did too, filling the soundwaves with messages of hope. Listening to these songs sent warmth coursing through me, and they had the power to melt any icy heart.
Melodic tones of joy and inspiration echoed thought the building and I’d easily get lost in emotion. Themes of faith, love, and hope, supported by the church collaborative made me feel I was celebrating something bigger than myself. Everything I felt and everything I hoped for was validated. I was safe and loved by Jesus and those around me.
Beliefs and Feelings Change but the Lessons Still Apply
There are times when I miss the community but the lessons are never forgotten. And just because I am no longer a believer, doesn’t mean they can’t be applied to a secular lifestyle or celebrated/practiced amongst our peers.
Jesus taught mercy and compassion. He was a man of the people and helped the poor, sick, and many others deemed lesser by society. And though he was beaten and crucified, he still forgave those who caused him so much suffering. In the end, no matter how much torment humans put him through, Jesus wanted what was best for all mankind.
Sacrifice; Easter is about sacrifice. We must sacrifice our comforts and well-being to make the world a better place and rid ourselves of judgment. Sacrifice is also needed when caring for the ones we love. Jesus’ sacrifice was one of love for humanity and we should follow his example.
Lastly, bear your cross. We all have our burdens and hardships and live with the mistakes we’ve made, but we mustn’t be crushed by their weight. Lifting our crosses and carrying it up the hill seems to be the only way to live a life that’s worth a damn. It’s staggering but the world, and ourselves, will be better off because we will find meaning or purpose through our suffering.
Before You Go!
I know my articles are usually against Biblical teachings but there are good messages in there too! What do you think? Can these lessons be applied to all? Or am I just blowing smoke?
Please be sure to voice your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section or contact me directly!