I feel like Easter completes a journey for me. My road to Easter starts back in December when we spend time celebrating Jesus. His birth and his coming are such a joyous occasion. Luke 2 - The angels sing and the heavens rejoice. He is the gift we have always wanted, the best present we will ever receive. We celebrate, we rejoice at the birth of this baby. Then it's over. Winter begins. The decorations are put away. We settle in and those celebrations fade into memories, valued but tucked away. Pulled out occasionally but not dwelled upon. What about that baby we celebrated? Winter season sets in, and sometimes is reflected in our hearts.
Then, Lent arrives. Lent means Spring. Something starts to awaken in us. There is a yearning and there is a longing for something new to start. Hope comes forth. Something is missing and we have to finish what we started. A stirring that we can't ignore. It's not complete. It's time for breakthrough.
Palm Sunday comes and we rejoice. We remember the triumphal entry. (Mark 11:1-11) Jesus is celebrated again! Another party! Oh yes, that little baby. We can still shout his name and be excited for him as he arrives to the city of Jerusalem calling his name. Laying down their garments for him. Welcoming the baby now as their King.
Then everything changes. The atmosphere isn't that same. The celebration ends.
Easter. We know we don't celebrate the exact days on the calendar. We know there were years between the birth and the death of Christ. Yet, Easter is significant in that it symbolizes what Christ did for you and I. At Christmas he came as a gift, at Easter he makes that gift available to us.
That is what Easter represents in my heart.
Jesus finished what he started.
He came as a baby, he left as a King.
He was the beginning, and he is the end.
What I celebrate at Christmas is completed at Easter. I need both to fully appreciate all that was done for me. Each year, it's a significant reminder. On Good Friday, I'll remember his sacrifice. I'll partake of communion and remember his body and his blood that were broken and shed for me. I know my eyes will be full of tears as I envision him on that cross, broken and dying for the ugly stains that mark my life. (Mark 15:21-40) It will be somber because I'll remember his death. His death that brought me life. Made me clean. His last words uttered, "It is finished." What he came to do as baby, completed on that cross. For me.
But it still wasn't over.
His death then brings again reason to celebrate. It seems counter-intuitive to celebrate a death. But this was no ordinary death. On Easter Sunday, my heart will be full. I will rejoice, I will shed tears of thankfulness because my Saviour didn't stay in that grave. He's alive. He's living and He is risen. (Mark 16:1-8) His task was finished when he died, but his purpose was made alive as he rose again.
How can I rejoice in that without remembering the baby who came for me?
And how can I celebrate the baby without acknowledging the pain he would suffer for me?
Easter completes what was started.
It reminds me that I can't live without acknowledging death.
That I can't celebrate, without knowing there will be pain.
It can't end at Easter.
I won't put it away, my heart filled with overflowing gratitude.
I must rejoice in every season.
I will praise at all times.
Knowing that my Saviour's love remains the same.
Easter completes my heart.