by Sarah Carson—
When my daughter was 18-months-old, I saw an ad on Facebook for a free Easter egg hunt at a local garden center.
I couldn’t imagine a more perfect way to spend a Saturday morning than helping my baby toddle through rows of potted plants and blooming daffodils. I couldn’t wait to watch her face light up as she reached for brightly colored eggs among all that greenery and sunshine.
But when we arrived at the nursery, it seemed that every parent within a 20-mile radius had imagined the same thing I had. Hundreds of children lined up by age to search for plastic eggs tucked among the marigolds and geraniums.
The eggs were all empty. Kids could trade their eggs in for a bag of treats at the end of the event, so what came next seemed unnecessary. But when the organizers said, “Go,” parents and kids took off running in all directions. I watched, stunned, as families snatched up every egg they could find. I hadn’t realized egg hunting was a competitive sport. Is this what Easter is? I thought. This is how we celebrate resurrection, the defeat of death?
I found one, lone egg tucked among some nearby succulents. I carried it to a quieter part of the nursery. For 20 minutes or so, I hid the same egg, over and over, for my daughter. Each time she discovered it tucked under a leaf or among fallen petals, it was as if she was seeing the egg for the first time. It never got old.
No, this is what Easter is—all things made new, I thought.
As Easter approaches this year, I feel a bit like I’m being trampled by running Easter-egg hunters again, after a year marked by death, turmoil and upheaval. It’s been a time of constant worry about my family’s health, about my country and my neighbors, about safety, about the future.
Are you sure it’s really Easter, God? I find myself asking. I don’t know if I’m ready to celebrate.
But in this issue of Gather, Bible study author Christa von Zychlin reminds us that it is exactly in times like these that God’s good news comes for us. It comes when we least expect it, as it did for Sarai and Abram, or it comes when we’re exhausted and at our wits’ end, as it did when a sleeping Elijah was awakened by an angel.
Is this what Easter is? Did Christ really live here? On this planet? Did he really die and ascend to heaven from the same earth where we stand?
Yes, this is Easter. Easter means knowing “there will be a time when God’s work is done on earth, all evil power is brought to an end, tears cease, and the mass choirs of heaven sing a full-throated victory song in the presence of the risen Christ, with God and all God’s angels,” Christa writes.
If, like me, you’re finding it hard to celebrate this year, may we be reminded that, yes, this is exactly what Easter is: New life springing up from the grave. A beginning, not just an end.
Sarah Carson is the managing editor of Gather.