Posted by: graceunbound | April 5, 2009

At the foot of the Cross

angela_easter_means07

This post is written as part of the blog carnival hosted by Angela at Becoming Me. Check out the link to find more great reflections from other bloggers on what Easter means to them.

Easter has often been a rocky time for me. It was something we celebrated and I could quote you book, chapter and verse on why we celebrated Easter but I couldn’t have ever really said that I felt like celebrating Easter. Sacrilege, I know, a good Christian girl not wanting to celebrate Easter. But there you have it. Easter was one of those days where I felt left out.

When I was younger I felt left out because all my friends got Easter baskets full of chocolate rabbits and jelly bean eggs, most of the time we only got something if my dad’s employer handed out candy. As I got older I felt left out because I never seemed to get the pretty new Easter dresses that other girls got. Older still, and I began to feel left out because despite a world of head knowledge about the resurrection, despite baptism, despite Christian schooling, despite a professed faith I just didn’t ‘feel’ Easter. Wasn’t there supposed to be joy? “Lift your glad voices,” and so forth? If I couldn’t feel the joy of Easter, was I even any good as a Christian? It’s taken me most of a lifetime to realize that I first had to surrender at the foot of the cross in order to understand the glory of the resurrection.

Looking back now it seems pretty clear that even in my teenage years I was already struggling with depression and anxiety, and Easter coming at the end of a cold winter, more often than not being cold and wet when it arrived was not going to imbue me with warm and happy feelings just by showing up on the calendar. But my lack of joy and my inability to feel what I thought a good Christian ought to feel only added to the frustration, only fed my depression more. “Why can’t I get this right?” I would think. At the darkest moments I questioned whether life was even worth living if I couldn’t get this one simple thing right.

College came, and during those years I began to gain a better understanding of the grace and love of Christ. In the following years there were some beautiful Easter experiences. Sitting alone at the top of a hill on campus watching the sun rise over the mountains. Joining with my church for a sunrise service on a hillside overlooking rolling hills and farmland. Many years, though, Easter has just marked another date on the calendar.

Last year my frustration again came to a head. It was a difficult time, struggling once again with depression, struggling with my identity as a new stay at home mom; once again, I just wasn’t ‘feeling’ Easter. In the days and weeks that followed though I began to learn something. Easter doesn’t begin with the happy feel-good celebrations. Easter really begins at the foot of the cross, and until I begin to throw myself daily at the foot of that cross and the wonder of the sacrifice that Christ made on it, Easter will remain nothing more than a pretty pastel holiday. It’s the sacrifice that covers my sins. It’s the love involved that allows me to trust Him to carry my burdens. Easter is the assurance that Christ has conquered death, it is my future hope of eternal life.

I’ve learned something else as well. Feelings are fickle, subject to chemistry, the weather, what I had for dinner last night. Easter was never meant to be a feeling, it is a fact. I can celebrate the fact that Christ is risen even when I’m at my lowest points. I’m not celebrating the warm and fuzzy peeps and chocolate bunnies wrapped in pastel ribbons Easter. I’m celebrating the power of the stone rolled away, the empty tomb, the risen Lord appearing to his followers. I don’t have to feel anything to begin to celebrate that, I just need to bow in reverence and from the depths of my heart say, “Thank you.” And joy will follow.

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Responses

  1. I too have struggled with the idea that I am supposed to feel a certain way…but my emotions are definately subject to change on a regular basis…

    Easter is something that I celebrate daily or at least I try too…even a good southern gal like me struggles with the whole dressing up trappings thing.

  2. These are beautiful words from your heart, Loretta. My experience has been very much the same, and sadly this year is no exception-I’m not feeling it. But like you said, I don’t have to feel it to celebrate Jesus and bow before Him in thanksgiving and reverence. Joy will come in the morning!

  3. amen, amen and amen!!

    wow, that was wonderfully said. it sure isn’t a feeling! it has to be a choice.

  4. this is so well written, and seems to resoonate w/ several of us. my dh is always telling me facts, then feelings, but it’s so true, and a lesson i often need reminding of! thank you for sharing.

  5. Wow! This is so honest and beautiful! I’m so glad you wrote it.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog too. 🙂

    You are a wonderful writer!

  6. This was amazingly written and your thoughts were laid out so honestly. It really did strike a chord with me especially about feels being fickle…just as a sunset is as beautiful on a day when life is going great and just as beautiful when life is kind of sucky. Some things just are no matter what emotions we put with them. I loved this. You have such an amazing talent.

  7. What a wonderful post! You make a great point.

  8. I felt like you were writing down thoughts from my own head… we are so alike in this.
    Thank you for your vulnerability.
    I too can now say “Thank You” to Jesus and truly mean it.

  9. What you say is so true and has probably been a lot of our experiences, I know it was mine.

    I think part of it is our culture doesn’t like pain and is obsessed with perfection, so the idea of Jesus’ brutal death and all our imperfections is something we’d like to brush past…but without it we’d be hopeless.

  10. Thank you for sharing this. In your honesty, you have given such glory to a great God. A God who is great even when we “feel” he isn’t and a God who loves us even when we don’t love him. Beautiful.

  11. Wonderful discovery that you have shared with us! So glad we don’t have to rely upon our own fickle feelings to receive the blessing of Easter morning!


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