Isn’t it funny how priorities change?
My grandmother has an old photograph in her home office that I like to look at almost every time I’m there to visit. The picture is of my cousin Aimee and me when we were very young, running hand in hand in my grandmother’s back yard. It was taken on Easter when we were both decked out in our best clothes, frantically searching for eggs that had been hidden for us by our family.
I asked myself the other day why it is that I still enjoy looking at this old photograph after all these years? Is it just the fact that I think it looks like it could be in one of those old JC Penny catalogs from back in the day? No, I don’t think so. I believe it is because every time I see it I am transported back to a more innocent time – back when trying to find the “prize egg” with the five-dollar bill inside it was my biggest concern.
That innocence could only last so long, of course. As I moved into my teenage years, my priorities for Easter Day gradually changed from baskets and chocolate bunnies to clothes. What would I wear on the biggest day of the year at my church? Easter became a good excuse to get a new outfit I could wear on special occasions the rest of the year. What teenager doesn’t want to look cool and impress their friends? Sadly, even though I was old enough to know better, I was excited about Easter for the wrong reasons.
Now, in my adult years, my priorities have changed yet again. No longer do I search for small, hidden prizes in my grandmother’s back yard. I make sure I take time to notice the wonders that are all around, hidden only if I don’t take the time to notice. Flowers blooming, a smile on the face of someone that I know loves me deeply or the power of a song played just the right way – things that I would miss if I weren’t paying attention.
I’m also done trying to impress people. Attempting to show fellow church members how well I can dress pales in comparison to how important it is for me to try to please the one that Easter is really all about.
Meditating on the fact that Christ died on a cross for the sins of the world and then rose again three days later can be overwhelming. If I truly believe this story is real, shouldn’t it inspire me to want to be a better person?
There is certainly nothing wrong with children going on egg hunts or receiving chocolate bunnies from their parents. I think all those traditions are great and a really important part of a good childhood. Wanting to look nice as a teen or adult is perfectly fine, as well. In fact, I encourage it.
What I am getting at is that eventually we have to look past the pomp and circumstance of Easter and focus on its real meaning – the reason we began celebrating it in the first place.
Let this Easter inspire us to live with our eyes wide open, taking in the beauty that God created, and live the kind of life that Christ called us all to strive for. Not just Easter Day, but everyday.
What does Easter mean to you?