One of my favorite Easter traditions as a kid came courtesy of a much beloved aunt and uncle. It wasn’t a new outfit or a new pair of patent leather Mary Janes, although those items were fun treats over the years as well. No, it was the one and only chocolate Easter egg from See’s Candy. It was rich, fancy and so special it came in its own box. I remember thinking it was one of the prettiest things I’d seen. I’d enjoy small pieces at a time, sharing it with my parents, making it last for as many days as possible. It didn’t matter if I received anything else in a basket for Easter. The See’s chocolate egg was my favorite.
I think we sometimes see Easter in the same way that I used to view the fancy See’s chocolate egg–like a special treat, but not much more. Easter arrives in all of its glory; it’s fancy, colorful, joyous and full of music. We feel sort of relieved that the austerity of Lent is over. Easter is a day set apart to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and the promise of new life for all of us. That is well worth celebrating! We dress up, we enjoy the celebration…and then before we know it, just like my favorite treat, it’s gone. We stop celebrating the true gifts and sacrifices signified by the resurrection and we go back to our daily routines. We often leave behind the spiritual disciplines we held to during Lent, too. We stop going to that small group we tried out and we stop reading the Bible as regularly. We may even stop attending worship as often, giving in to the relentless social and professional demands for our time that inevitably pop up as the weather turns warm. What is the point of Lent and Easter if we walk away from all of the benefits of fellowship and discernment that both experiences have to offer us?
Easter is so much more than a special treat, friends. Easter represents a new beginning, not just an ending to a somber time. Go ahead, admire it like the fancy See’s chocolate egg. But don’t stop there. For months to come, treat yourself to a little bit every week. Savor the gift of the resurrection at the same time that you honor the sacrifice it represents. Continue to spend time in prayer and worship, listening for the new thing that may be at work in you. The longer you allow yourself to experience Easter, you may find that Jesus has more gifts waiting for you than you can fit into any Easter basket.