The Hope of Easter
Easter has long been my favorite holiday. As a girl, I loved picking out a new Easter dress, dyeing and hunting for eggs, and getting Easter candy. I love early spring with its daffodils and tulips, fresh air and warmer temperatures. I love the colors of the season, the sunny days and rainy days.
The most important thing that I vividly remember about the Easters of my childhood are the lessons my Primary teachers taught about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yes, it’s fun to talk about the Easter bunny, hunt for eggs, and eat chocolate, but I can’t remember a time when I didn’t also know the true Christian meaning behind this holiday.
My mom grew up as a Lutheran and would sometimes show us the cross she had worn as a teen in Denmark. When we asked why she didn’t wear it anymore, she told us, “Mormons don’t wear crosses.” We thought it was because we wore CTR (for “choose the right”) rings instead, but as I grew older, I learned that that isn’t the reason. Many Christian denominations use the cross as a symbol of their faith. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we don’t want to focus on the death of Christ. That wasn’t the event that completed His atonement. The atonement of Christ was completed when he was resurrected, leaving behind the tomb as His body and spirit were reunited, never again to be parted.
As Christmas passes and winter wears on, I always look forward to Easter. It’s disappointing when Easter occurs in March because I don’t have as much time to anticipate it. When the year is at its darkest, I like having Easter to look forward to. I find that it focuses my mind on the things that matter most. My prayers become more thoughtful and sincere. I study the scriptures more than I read them. I remember where all the good things in my life come from. For me, Easter and the time leading up to it are a period of hope.
I know that everything I enjoy in my life is because of Jesus Christ—because He was willing to suffer for me, to experience my sins, pains, temptations, weaknesses, so that I may never have to know just how bad it would have been, and my body and spirit will be reunited, never again to be parted. His trials and suffering were not the end, just as my trials and sufferings are not the end. This season, this holiday, remind me that death leads to life, and that life will be glorious. I want to hold onto that hope and light for as long as I can.
This Easter, that hope will fill our home differently than it has before. Unable to gather with our neighbors at church, we will need to bring that spirit of Easter into our home. In the intimate setting of our living room, teaching our children about the atonement, death, and resurrection of Christ, it will bring that hope in a way we have never felt before, and a way I hope we can hold onto for weeks to come.