Reason to celebrate

As Easter is upon us and we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, I have found it to be a little more difficult to prepare my heart this year.  I feel so guilty admitting that, but it seems that everywhere I turn these days I see sorrow and despair, and I find it more and more challenging to stay focused on the “prize.”  Friends are struggling with pain and loss, broken marriages, financial destruction, illness and death… the list goes on.  Our world has become such a scary place, and things continue to spiral downward.  It can be so overwhelming, so disturbing, so… hopeless.  Yet we know that our God is a God of hope, a God of promise, a God of love.

We celebrate Easter each year with great excitement and joy, but as I re-read the account of the very first “Easter” in God’s word, I was reminded that the world at that time was not unlike the world we live in today.  They, too, had their share of disappointments, of fear, of trials and tribulations… they, too, faced great sorrow and despair.

As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples were tired and weary, just as we are.  They, too, faced exhaustion, and were too worn out to even pray.  As Jesus was betrayed and arrested, the disciples faced fear.  They lost courage and fled, deserting the One they loved.  Their fears continued to control them as Jesus stood on trial.  Peter was too afraid to even admit he knew Jesus, denying Him three times.

Do you struggle with guilt?  Judas did.  He betrayed Jesus, the One whom he had followed daily.  He betrayed Him with a seemingly innocent kiss, ultimately condemning Him to death.  His guilt overtook him as he took his own life.

The followers of Christ faced disappointment, grief, sorrow, and lack of faith as Christ was crucified and buried.  They forgot His promise, and were consumed by the events surrounding them.  The women mourned and wailed and the men doubted and thought it all to be over, but the end was not yet written.  For in the midst of all of the chaos, all of the sadness, all of the unknown, He arose in triumphal victory!

That is why we celebrate.  We celebrate in knowing that despite the troubles of this world, despite the problems we have, despite all that goes on around us, He is alive.  We celebrate because no matter what circumstances we face, we have victory through Him.  We celebrate because through His own death and resurrection we have the promise of eternal life, and that eternal life will be free from sorrow and disappointment.  We celebrate because of Him…. so let us all put the cares of this world behind us and focus on the promise of our Lord and Savior, and celebrate what He has done, is doing, and will do!  Happy Easter, ya’ll!

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