I realize that for many people, Easter is simply about spring and bunnies and eggs. I love those things too. I love celebrating the beauty of our Earth coming back to life. And… I celebrate one thing more. For me, Easter is a true story of light. It is one of the ultimate ways that my life is made lighter.
About 18 years ago, I had an experience on Easter that perfectly illustrates how this holiday, and what it stands for, lightens up my life.
At that time, my previous husband and I had just finished college, moved to the Bay Area with two very young children, and were both working to try to make ends meet in this very expensive place. The day before Easter that year, we discovered that we had made an unintentional mistake on our W-4 tax forms that resulted in us owing several thousands of dollars in taxes. I was devastated.
The next day, we had an Easter celebration at my grandparent’s house. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t a very fun guest that day. I was filled with anxiety and worry and could barely enjoy spending time with my family. I was in a very dark place.
At some point during the day, my grandmother sat me down for a chat. She told me that she and my grandfather had decided to loan us the money to pay our taxes and that we could pay them back with no interest. She hugged me and patted my hair as I cried all over her shoulder.
Then she said something that struck me profoundly.
“After all,” she said, “that is what Easter is supposed to really be about, right? Wiping clean our mistakes and having a new beginning?”
It struck the core of my heart. That was the first time in my life that I deeply, and in a very real sense, understood what Easter was about.
I had made a mistake. It was unintentional, but it still had dire consequences. I didn’t have that money and really had no way to get it. We were living paycheck to paycheck, we had no savings, and we were already both working full time hours. The IRS doesn’t care about that. They expect you to pay up on April 15th, or there are huge penalties, interest, and consequences. I couldn’t take care of this debt on my own. I didn’t have the means to fix my mistake by myself.
Me and my grandmother (Oma) at my wedding in 2012
But my grandparents did. And they loved me. And I still had to pay them back over time with my own hard work and earned money. (And I did!) But they made it possible for me to take care of that debt.
Jesus Christ did the same thing for me.
I am an imperfect human right now. I can’t do everything perfectly and it leaves a large gap between what I can do and what I need to do. I make mistakes all the time. And I can’t make up for them all by myself. But HE makes up the difference.
I am also mortal. And one of these days, my clock will run out. I can’t re-start that clock on my own. But HE will give me life again.
For me, this is the ultimate lightening up. You bet your boots I was a much happier person at that party at my grandparent’s after I knew my life was not in ruins. Their help had lifted a very heavy burden and lightened up my heart, mind, and soul.
That is what Easter is for me. When I remember that Jesus Christ lived and died and lived again, the heavy burden of death is lifted. And when I remember that He has the power to make up for my mistakes and weaknesses, the heavy burden of life is lifted.
As the apostle John so beautifully writes:
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (Holy Bible, 1 John 4: 9-10)
I truly wish all of you a light-filled Easter that reminds you of the ultimate lightening up.