Easter has come and gone. And for certain, this Easter holiday was entirely different than any other experienced in my lifetime.
Very different. But just different. Not dreadful. Not terrible. Not unpleasant. Just different from usual, that’s all.
I noticed a lot of folks (even those of us who call ourselves believers in Christ) bemoaning the fact that they just couldn’t celebrate Easter the way they normally do.
In a church building. Couldn’t practice communion on Maundy Thursday at their place of worship. Couldn’t participate in an annual Cross Walk or join in a Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.
Couldn’t attend Easter Sunrise Service at their favorite place to do so. Couldn’t be in church for an Easter Sunday message in their new Easter clothes.
Couldn’t take their children to Easter egg hunts or –heaven forbid – couldn’t go to the mall to visit the Easter Bunny. Couldn’t gather with all their family and friends for a huge Easter dinner.
And they were right. They couldn’t. Due to Covid-19 lockdowns, physical distancing, sheltering in place, self-isolating, quarantines, whatever you want to call it, this Easter WAS different.
But so many aspects of celebrating Easter became more real to me during this time than ever before. I found myself thankful. No, not just thankful….flat out, fall down on your knees grateful for so many reasons.
It’s true that we couldn’t practice communion on Maundy Thursday in our church. But our pastor held an online live service that we all could participate in. Papa, Little One, and I gathered our “bread” (some crackers) and “wine” (apple juice) and we joined in communion with our fellow believers from our own home.
Secluded. Isolated. Much like I imagine Jesus and His disciplines were in that upper room so long ago as they celebrated the Passover feast. And this symbolic breaking of bread, representing Christ’s body, and drinking wine, representing His blood poured out on the cross, was so very meaningful to me this time.
It’s true there weren’t any public events to attend – no stations of the cross, no cross walk – but the three of us cuddled up together and watched Sight and Sound Theatre (Lancaster, PA) broadcast their production of “Jesus” online and on cable television for all those who wanted to view it.
The presentation was two hours long, yet our Little One was glued to the screen seeing the “Jesus story” come to life. We answered her questions and explained some of the scenes to her. And we all experienced a new appreciation for that timeless accounting of our Savior’s life, death, and resurrection.
It’s true we couldn’t attend Easter Sunrise Service or Easter Sunday Worship in our church building with fellow church members and guests. But again, we assembled around the computer live time, greeting one another with typed messages, and listened to our pastor give us the Word of God in his message that morning for both services.
And how thankful we are for technology that enabled us to do so. The church where we congregate is just a building. The church is us – followers and believers in Christ – and we were together worshiping our Lord, just in a different way.
It’s true that children couldn’t attend Easter egg hunts. But we held our own for Little One right here in our 2.5 acre yard. And she giggled and ran and had so much fun tracking down those brightly colored plastic eggs and then hiding them for Nana and Papa to find.
It’s true that Little One couldn’t visit the Easter Bunny. But he still managed to leave a basket of goodies here at Nana and Papa’s house for her. And even though that made her happy and excited, the knowledge that she’s learned about a Savior named Jesus Christ who died on the cross because “He loves us” (her words) and came back to life again so “when we die, we can go to heaven to be with Him” (again her words) is the most important thing she understood from this different Easter.
It’s true our family couldn’t gather together at our home for a huge Easter feast and we did miss them. But we stay in touch in other ways now. And that is a blessing for which I am thankful.
It’s true Easter dinner was different. Just three of us around the kitchen table eating a simple meal of scalloped potatoes with ham pieces, Bush’s baked beans, and some canned pineapple slices. For dessert, we ate strawberry Jello made by Little One and Nana.
And we were thankful for the food that comprised our simple meal (and I enjoyed not slaving away in the kitchen!) and for grocery store deliveries right to our front porch.
This simple Easter was one of the most memorable ones I’ve ever experienced and I hope in years to come, I don’t remember the difficult circumstances of this sacred holiday.
I want to remember the quiet, meaningful time that Easter became this year.
I want to remember how real Easter was for me.
I want to remember how focusing on Christ gave me such hope in the midst of a trying time in our world.
“The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.” ~ Basil Hume
It’s true Easter was different this year. Just different. But I chose to focus on what was the same – celebrating our risen Savior and Lord no matter the circumstances. The simple experience made all the difference to my grateful heart.
“To a Christian, Easter Sunday means everything, when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” ~ Bernhard Langer, professional golfer, devout Christian