Writing an Easter column has never come easily for me.
I mean, it’s not like a frothy Valentine or ho-ho-ho holiday.
Then again, most occasions are like a two-sided coin. They can have a serious side and a softer side to them.
Travel with me through the typical calendar year for a few examples.
Valentines Day is all hearts and flowers, red and pink abounding everywhere. St. Patrick’s Day is all about the wearing o’ the green. And Memorial Day and the 4th of July, as well as Veterans Day, remind us that every heart beats true for the red, white and blue, as we pay tribute to military past and present as well as our own patriotism and love of this country.
Thanksgiving and Christmas take on a more serious, or at least sentimental tone, as do Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
Easter, though, just feels like a tad more pressure.
I mean, there are lots of commercial references to pastel colored eggs and the Easter bunny and all the things that can be found in the basket.
Unlike Christmas, though, when we are reminded of the birth of the Christ child, the connotation of this holiday for many is about death. Crucifixion. The turning of the tide on God’s only Son.
If that’s your perception of the occasion, though, maybe your pages of the Bible got mistakenly stuck together.
The holiday is about more than a ham dinner or a rare visit to church, as if to make up for lost time for not attending all year.
It goes beyond an Easter egg hunt in the back yard or at the local park.
Granted, I like all those things. Heck, we did all those things growing up.
But as a reminder to some, a news flash for others who may be uninitiated — wait! There’s more. So much more.
The pressure for me to represent this momentous day is on because I know. I know that it’s more than setting the alarm early to attend a sunrise service and be reminded of what actually happened on that very first Easter.
Christmas may be, as the song goes, the most wonderful time of the year. But in Christian terms, Easter is the season for the reason — Jesus Christ, of course being the reason.
The reason we celebrate anything. The reason and foundational basis for why we even have the word “Christmas” or “Christian” because both contain his very name.
And so to help with this, I share one of my favorite messages, “One Solitary Life,” originally written as part of a sermon. I hope you might appreciate it as I always have.
“Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until he was 30. Then for three years he was an itinerant preacher.
“He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place he was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself.
“While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to his enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth – His coat. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
“Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today he is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.”
I am humbled and honored to have faith in this “One solitary life.” It is what defines me. It is what sustains me. And it is absolutely what gives my life the most meaning, today and every day.
Hmmm. I guess I could write an Easter column, after all.