April 3, 2001
Dear Family and Friends,
Many days have passed since I last sat at my computer at a loss. Tonight I am. There are many things I should be doing right now . . . working on a graduate school assignment, writing a training manual for work, designing a web site, scanning pictures in, or doing research on the internet. Instead I find myself contemplating the upcoming holiday and what it means to me.
Growing up, it meant a wicker basket filled with plastic green grass and lots of candy (mostly that I didn’t care for, I never could stand those “candy eggs” and “marshmallow chicks”.) It meant a new dress and having to sit through mom fixing my hair and listening to a long boring sermon at church of a story I had heard a “million” times.
Later in the day, after hearing the same story every year in church, a neighborhood egg hunt. As I grew older, getting to hide the eggs rather than search for them. People laugh. They all look wonderful in their new clothes. There were no chores, no eating food I didn’t like (I could fill up with candy.) But that was it . . .
Now, I’m 26. There are no kids around to entertain with an egg hunt. There is no new outfit. And most years, I don’t even attend the church service because it will be too crowded. It’s just another day. Not even a special day or Sunday anymore.
As I see this, I am saddened. This day commemorates the . . . wow, I’m at a loss again. The Creator of this entire, complicated, beautiful, intimidating, and awe inspiring world sent his Son to live here, experience what we go through. I mean He went through it all. Having parents. Being teased by other kids. Pimples. Not being the most popular person in school. Puberty. Insecurity. Wondering how to make ends meet. Everything that we go through growing up and on.
He then allowed His Son to be killed, not just shot by a gun or electrocuted in seconds, but hung for hours in the sun (Matthew 27:45), dehydrated (Matthew 27:34), bleeding and covered in whip lashes and sores from being beaten (Matthew 27:28-30) until he died (Matthew 27:50). On a cross.
My dad (and mom) wouldn’t even let me fall down with out checking my knees and kissing my head. My dad would speak sternly to another child, teenager or adult if he/she did something remotely harmful to me (even to this day.) He would fly my mom at a day’s notice up to be with me when I am sick. There is no way he would allow me to be treated like that. My dad hurts when I cry and supports me in every way possible.
Can you imagine the pain, seeing your only Son . . . hanging from a cross, in more physical pain than is imaginable, abandoned and denied by those He called friend (Matthew 26:75), dying? Can you imagine having the power to put a stop to it and not (Matthew 51-54)? God did. I’m sure that it was so hard for Him that He turned His back on His Son and wept (Matthew 27:45), knowing that it was His creation that had done this.
In that moment, through those hours of His suffering, He took everything I have ever done wrong and He paid for it. He suffered for me. He suffered for you. And He gave up His son.
There’s no Christmas present worth that. There’s no basket filled with candy that can symbolize that kind of gift. There’s no personal sacrifice that could be the equivalent.
My God loves me. So much that He would be separated from His only son for me. He would have His only son, tortured and killed for me. Because He knew it was the only way to reconcile His relationship with me . . . I meant that much to Him, even before I was a twinkle in my parents’ eyes.
So what does this “holiday” mean . . . what should it mean? Easter symbolizes the final reconciliation of my relationship with my Heavenly Father. His son rose again, having paid for all my sins. He allowed me to be seen again as clean and pure in His eyes. Easter means that I have Hope again. Hope in my relationship with my Heavenly Father. Hope in me.
Yes, but what does that mean really. I mean, the preacher tells me the same story every year . . . To me it means . . .
- I am loved beyond anything imaginable. All these days and nights I spend feeling lonely and sorry for myself are for naught because I am loved so completely. (I John 4:9-11)
- I am accepted. No matter how little I like how I look. Or how I may not seem to “measure up.” I am pure and clean and perfect in His eyes, and no one is a better judge than that. (Colossians 1:21-22)
- I have potential. Everyone stumbles. And, man, I fall flat on my face quite often. But He gave me the opportunity to pick myself up and move past that. Past my problems and weaknesses. I can be complete and whole, healthy. He took responsibility for all of those. (Colossians 2:10)
I have so many struggles, just as I am sure that you do, and this “gift” is one that I need to re-open every day rather than once a year. So rather than an Easter card or candy this year, I wanted to share this story with you in my way and why it means so much to me.
I am so blessed to call you family or friend. Thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for sharing yourself with me. You will never know just how much that means to me.