Thursday, April 1, 2010

What If I Don't Feel Like Celebrating Easter?

I bet the title of this blog caught your attention. This weekend is supposed to be very special for our family. We have so many reasons to celebrate. First of all, we are celebrating Easter. It is the whole reason that Jesus came to this earth. He came so that on Good Friday He would take on the sins of the world, yet on Easter morning He would rise from the dead—clearing a path of salvation for all those who would believe on Him. What a glorious celebration!

Our family has other reasons to celebrate as well. My oldest son turns 16 this weekend. There is just something remarkable about that 16th birthday. It’s like a special turning point in a young person’s life. Childhood is just about to be completely left behind. A new season of life waits just around the corner.

We are also celebrating my mother’s 60th birthday which is yet another milestone in a special family member’s life. So many celebrations and so many good things to think about…but we have had this dark cloud covering the joys of all these celebrations. A marriage in our family is falling apart. It seems that prayers just aren’t quite getting answered the way we would like. Tomorrow is supposed to be a special day—the celebration of Good Friday. Sunday is another special day, Easter morning church service and then our family gathering to celebrate Jesus Christ and the aforementioned birthdays. But a family member will be missing. There will be this hole in our family and I have been battling the past week on how we can fill it.

The past several days I have been trying to think of ways to keep things joyful. Pretend it isn’t happening…bring out a funny DVD of a Christian comedian…put together some special Easter baskets for my kids and nephews…lots of different thoughts that I have had. In all honesty it has emotionally been a bit overwhelming. I have been feeling like I am trying to be the glue that keeps everything together and attempts to bring joy and peace in the midst of a very difficult and trying time.

I have also had my moments when I would like to do nothing more than just cancel everything. Forget even trying to make this happen. Call up family and announce the cancellation…they would probably understand. At one point I even thought that I should forget all about the plans I had this weekend to celebrate Easter—our Good Friday service, the Easter musical, and Sunday morning’s Easter service. How can I pretend to be happy when part of our world is falling apart? What if I don’t really feel like celebrating Easter?

Almost as quickly as I had those thoughts I was reminded of those dark moments that Jesus experienced the day He would hang on the cross for the sins of this world. It was now about the sixth hour (midday), and darkness enveloped the whole land and earth until the ninth hour (about three o’clock in the afternoon), while the sun’s light faded or was darkened; and the curtain [of the Holy of Holies] of the temple was torn in two (Luke 23:44-45). Indeed it was a dark time. It was not a time of celebration. It seemed that all hope was gone. But who was there? Who was hanging in the balance between life and death? Jesus was. Even in the darkest moments He was there. In our dark moments as a family, He is there. But the darkness won’t remain just as it didn’t on the day He was crucified.

I love how Luke 24 starts off…BUT. But on the first day of the week… What we know about the word “but” is that it cancels everything before. Our debt was canceled. The darkness that had once clouded everything was canceled by the word “but.” Because in Luke 24:3 it says But when they went inside, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. Why couldn't they find it? Because He had risen! The dark cloud had been lifted and Jesus’ resurrection paved the way for light and life.

My reminder, which is for anyone else who is experiencing something difficult in life right now, is that the darkness doesn’t remain forever. There may be a dark cloud hovering over you right now but Jesus is still there. Don’t feel like celebrating Easter? Do you think Jesus “felt” like hanging on a cross? Remember the reason for the celebrations of Easter, what He did for you and watch the dark cloud begin to break away.

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