As a Jesus-loving Christian, Easter is THE holiday. It’s a reminder of Jesus dying on the cross and his glorious resurrection three days later. Oh glorious day when he broke the chains of sin that bind us! I’m thankful for all he has done. Jesus gives hope of a life better than this one. Jesus knows each of us and wants to spend eternity with us, regardless of what we’ve done in our past and will do in our future. His open arms and redemption give an answer to our hearts that seek him and will be satisfied with nothing else.
Although this holiday is a beautiful way to remember his sacrifice for us, I struggle deeply with Easter. For me, it is not a happy holiday for me in a lot of ways and often I find myself in tears, feeling sad, lost and alone. I feel guilty for disliking the holiday. I struggle with sadness over the things that have happened in my life on past Easters.
Frustrating Easter Sundays at my grandma’s house where I was an angry teenager forced to visit my grandma. Our relationship wasn’t great in those years. Then ten years ago, I went to church Easter morning with a few girlfriends because my fiancé, Lucas, was already in Maryland at our new Navy duty station. I would later join him thereafter we were married and I completed my training. It was a cold sunrise service in Pensacola, FL. I was so sad that Lucas wasn’t there. Even though I was with my girlfriends, I wanted more.
A year later I went alone to our church because he was deployed. I left the church before the service started because I couldn’t stop crying. Five years ago, at our church in Hawaii, we were joined at church by some of our best friends. These were some of our only friends on the island and I miss living next to them to this day because of the relationship we shared. We haven’t found another couple we can do life together with here in Wisconsin. Easter reminds me of the past and makes it harder. As the years have gone by, the holiday is still hard and I struggle with feeling joy in this season. In the last few days leading up to Easter, I’ve not looked forward to this day.
As much as it’s embarrassing to admit that these are my feelings around Easter, I want you to know you’re not alone if Easter is hard for you too.
Whether or not the feeling of this being a difficult holiday for you is an annual occurrence or this year with the isolation of the Coronavirus keeping you home away from friends, family, and church buildings making this year hard, I want to share with you some action steps I’m taking to remember Jesus in this season and bring joy to Easter.
- Reading the Bible story of the crucifixion and resurrection. Having a fresh memory of what happened at the first is important to me. I’ve been reading in Matthew and John, particularly Matthew 27-28 and John 18:28-John 20.
- Meditating on the truths of Easter. This morning it was so much easier for me to attend church and while I did cry a little bit, the message was so anointed with hope in Jesus.
- As I’ve thought about this blog post, and dwelt on what Easter really means and why it’s so hard, I’ve been comforted by the fact that I’m not alone. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit was sent to dwell in us. It happens once we become Christians. When I take my eyes off of myself and turn them to Jesus, I’m reminded that it’s not about me and all about the sacrifice that was made.
Repeatedly in the Psalms, the authors talk about how the Lord is close to those who are brokenhearted. Friend, if that’s you today, know that God is with you. He is comforting you and wants you to draw close to him.
Although knowing that it’s okay to grapple with emotions surrounding Easter, it doesn’t always get easier. We know the truth that God is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). We know he says blessed are those who mourn (Matthew 5:4). These are truths to meditate on in this season. If it’s hard, have hope. It may not get easier and it may be really hard for a long time, but have hope that Jesus’ death on the cross means that we get to be with him for eternity in Heaven along with the time we have here on earth knowing him.
As I watch the snow falling out the window on this snowy Easter in April, I’m struck by the purposefulness that we are seeking in Easter this year. It is enough for us to sit around as a family and watch Easter service and eat together. We didn’t make anything big out of the holiday, frankly because I didn’t want to take on too much and because it makes me emotional. However, this year was a little easier for me. Probably because I could stay home and didn’t have to worry about putting on a fake smile at church and with family.
This year, the weight and importance of the world watching church services online is not lost on me. Jesus is using the pandemic to reach those with the gospel who wouldn’t normally attend church. In the end, Easter is the beautiful story of Jesus who came down to earth, loved on others and was beaten and killed for those who he cares for. He died for us, you and I, because he was the sacrifice for us. His blood made atonement for us – for our wrong against a just God, something no other animal or human could do. It is in remembrance we pause to celebrate.
If knowing Jesus personally and inviting him into your heart to be your Lord and Savior is a step you haven’t done yet, I encourage you to head over to this website and take the most important steps of your life now.