THE GIFT OF EASTER

By Lisa Huddleston

Fluffy white and yellow bunnies and chicks.  Baskets of colored eggs and confectionary delights.  Jelly beans and tulips.  Pretty pastel dresses with trimmed bonnets and white gloves.  And Sunday morning, after the basket and before the ham, an empty cross.  That is how I remember the Easter of my childhood.  The strange juxtaposition of getting new clothes, stuffed animals, and candy with the deep and sacrificial giving of Jesus on the cross.  What a joyful jumble of thoughts.  What a mix of doctrines.  What a jelly beaned conglomeration of confusion!

But I can see where all this “new stuff”-ology came from.  Easter—the death and the resurrection—offers us new life.  The possibility to be restored to God.  Because of His sacrifice, we are made new!  Thus, new dresses, new shoes, colored eggs representing new life, and so on.  (Please, let’s save the pagan influences discussion for another day.)  I have to admit that it makes some sense.  But I also have to gently protest that the getting seems to be overshadowing the giving, the gift, and even the Giver.  Even in church, the dressing up of the sanctuary, the clothing of the choir (along with its music, of course), and the cramming in the service between the baskets and the big family dinner—something seems to be missing.  Without cynicism or self-righteousness—yes, I bought new clothes, too, and I know our worship will be filled with His name—but, humbly and carefully, may I suggest that we may be missing Jesus?

For the next few minutes, let’s ponder the Giver and His gift.  From Isaiah 53, we read:

He grew up before Him

like a young plant

and like a root out of dry ground.

He had no form or splendor

that we should look at Him,

no appearance that we should

desire Him.

He was despised and rejected

by men,

a man of suffering who knew

what sickness was.

He was like one

people turned away from.

He was despised, and we didn’t

value Him.

Yet He Himself bore

our sicknesses,

and He carried our pains;

but we in turn

regarded Him stricken,,

struck down by God,

and afflicted.

 

But He was pierced because of

our transgressions,

crushed because of

our iniquities;

punishment for our peace was

on Him,

and we are healed

by His wounds.

We all went astray like sheep;

we all have turned

to our own way;

and the LORD has punished Him

for the iniquity of us all.

 

He was oppressed and afflicted,

yet He did not open His mouth.

Like a lamb led to the slaughter

and like a sheep silent

before her shearers,

He did not open His mouth.

He was taken away because of

oppression and judgment;

and who considered His fate?

For He was cut off from the land

of the living;

He was struck because of

My people’s rebellion.

They made His grave

with the wicked,

and with a rich man

at His death,

although He had done no violence

and had not spoken deceitfully.

 

Yet the LORD was pleased

to crush Him. 

Pleased to crush His Son?  How can we accept such a gift?  So much more than white chocolate and pink and yellow clothing, this gift—this terrible wonderful sacrifice—is the gift of Easter.  Because of Jesus, amazing love and grace in flesh, we can be made new from the inside out.  May we not despise and reject this Jesus.  Not candy coated or beautiful in pastel colors, but willing to suffer in the flesh for all who have turned away.  This is Jesus.  This is Easter.  This is why we sing and celebrate this Sunday.  There is a Redeemer!  His name is Jesus!  Hallelujah to the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world—and even of me. 

 

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2 thoughts on “THE GIFT OF EASTER

  1. Dee says:

    Thank you Lisa! One of my favorite passages that inspired the following words to a song; “I am thankful for the silence of the Lamb! Through the blood of Christ, free from sin I am. The words he never spoke are the sweetest words to me. Oh, I’m so thankful for, the silence of the Lamb!”

  2. Lisa,

    Well said! God forbid that we ever call it Christian worship if we miss seeing Jesus. Thank you for your insight and consistent thoughtfulness. It is an inspiration.

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