For my sister and me, Easter meant Mom sewing us each a new dress. On Saturday evening, we colored eggs with the kind of dye that floated in droplets on top of the water in a large bowl. We used a toothpick to mix the colors around, then slowly dipped each egg into the swirly water on a homemade wire egg holder.
We often attended an Easter sunrise service, then a breakfast at church. Mom made what she called "kuchen." She mixed up a yeast dough, and after the first rising she rolled the dough out into a large rectangle, filled the center with plum or apple filling from end to end, and then cut the flat dough on the sides into one inch strips. She brought the strips to the center and braided them to cover the filling. After a second rise, she baked it until it turned golden brown, then drizzled the top with a thin glaze.
We joined my grandparents for Easter dinner, where all the aunts, uncles, and cousins also gathered. Grandma's best china and table linens graced the big dining room table. After a solemn blessing, we celebrated together. We went home with jelly beans, chocolate bite-sized bunnies, and a cake in the shape of a lamb, complete with white frosting and coconut.
However, the most meaningful part of the day for me took place while still snuggled in my bed. In the quiet of the dawn, I read the Easter story from the gospels. I thought about the Good Friday service at church, where our pastor did a chalk drawing depicting three crosses against an ominous sky. I tried to imagine in my young mind what it would have been like to be there and witness the death of the very Son of God. How sad and lonely. And then how wonderful to arrive at the tomb that Sunday morning when the angels announced, "He is not here. He is risen!" The miracle of it all made a deep impression on me.
This year I find myself thinking about the resurrection of Jesus in a new light. It's the first Easter Barry is on the other side. When someone so dearly loved has died, the words from 1 Corinthians 15 give hope and perspective:
But now Christ is risen from the dead, . . . So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." O Death, where is your sting? O Grave, where is your victory? . . . But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (verses 20, 54-57).Remembering the resurrection means so much more than listening to a once-a-year sermon. Because Christ lives, Barry's story isn't over. He lives! The resurrection has birthed the unwavering hope of eternal life. "So shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
Now that's worth celebrating, wouldn't you agree?
Photos from google images.