By: Abigail Driscoll
Let’s be honest: it’s easy to forget. With all of life’s obligations, full schedules, the rush of getting everything done, and your do-to list hanging over our shoulder, holidays have a tendency to sneak up on us. We’re so caught off guard that we scramble to remember why we even celebrate them in the first place. This Easter, let’s take a break (even if it’s a short one!) to remember and to truly celebrate this holiday and what it means for us.
But first let me say, these reminders aren’t new. They aren’t flashy or urgent or groundbreaking. Yet, they are incredibly comforting and worthy of a pause. So, wherever you’re reading this and whatever you’re doing, stop and take some deep breaths. Let these reminders sink in and let them comfort and reassure you. Take a minute to celebrate what Easter means for us:
1. You have been given a gift.
Sometimes life really sucks. Whether it’s something big or small, there is always a time for grieving. It’s not a negative thing if we get upset when things don’t go the way we’d hoped or when we experience pain, anxiety, depression, frustration, etc. I say this because I don’t want to communicate that you should “cheer up!” or “just be grateful” or paint a smile on our faces when you’re sad or angry. No, it’s not always an easy, lighthearted gratefulness that we have. Yet, choosing to remember the gift of life in the gospel and revel in it, regardless of your life circumstances or emotional state, is what Easter is about. Choosing to remember that in Jesus “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” is what we are celebrating.
We have been given the gift of life – not only are we breathing, thinking, and moving, but we are also loved, safe, and worthy. Easter is a reminder of the gift that life is, literally and spiritually. We have been put on this earth to experience love and pain, accomplishment and failure, nature and struggle. And we have been given life in our souls, in knowing that redemption is real, that we have purpose, and that death does not ultimately win.
2. You are free.
The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus means that we are now forgiven and free. We are free to be who we really are, free to forgive others, free to live without the weight of guilt. Psalm 103:12 says, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” That’s crazy! Just sit with that for a second. Your past doesn’t define you. Your present doesn’t define you. Your job, your relationships status, your accomplishments, your number of followers on Instagram – none of that stuff is you. You are 100% free from all of that to just be the most authentic, most humble yet confident version of yourself. And then you can go forward and let other people be themselves as well, loving, embracing, and forgiving them fully.
3. Wherever you are – it isn’t the end of the story.
It’s easy for us to focus primarily on the cross and Jesus’ death. Sometimes we even believe that was the pinnacle of the story, where it all culminated, where all the work of the gospel was done. That is where Jesus paid for our sins, and that’s where we stop. But that wasn’t the end of the story! We must go further. Three days after the crucifixion, Jesus rose from the dead and in doing so, He said that death would not win, that darkness would be defeated, and that grace reigns. God brought light out of the darkness; He brought life out of death.
In that very same way, He is doing that for us with His resurrection. He brings light from our own darkness, making beautiful things out of our messes. He brings us hope when we can’t find any of our own; he gives us comfort when we don’t have the answers. This is not the end of your story, just like the cross wasn’t the end of Jesus’.
So this Easter, slow down a little bit. Pause and remember to celebrate. Even if it’s in your own quiet way. Even if it’s with tears in your eyes. We have all been given a gift of grace in Jesus. We have been given the gift of knowing that out of death and darkness, God brings life and light.
Photo Cred: Annie Spratt
Abigail is a writer based in Cincinnati, OH with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and experience in mental health and sales. She is the founder of Freestate (www.shopfreestate.com), a resource that makes it easier for consumers to shop ethically. You can say hi on her blog, www.ritesofasylum.com, or on social media at @abigaildriscoll.