JOY AT EASTER: WHERE IS IT?
Joy means a state of happiness and a source or cause of delight. Children express joy often and well.
However, does this describe us at Easter?
Have you ever noticed how we go all out for Christmas and not so much for Easter? That joy seems more prevalent at Christmas than its sister holiday Easter. This year it has been on my mind, and I ask myself: “Where’s the joy?”
CHRISTMAS ROMANCE (VS) EASTER JOY
During the Christmas holiday, we have that warm fuzzy feeling. The decorations, hot chocolate, and candlelight services are just a few of the traditions that produce cozy feelings.
In reality, these traditions have little to do with the birth of our Savior. They aren’t wrong and do add to the holiday; however, we romanticize and forget the sacrifice. Jesus taking human form and living among us was a sacrifice of epic proportions.
Accordingly, it was a difficult time for Mary and Joseph. Scandalous was the title assigned to Mary, I’m sure. After all, she was pregnant before the consummation of her marriage to Joseph. On the other hand, many pitied (or laughed) at Joseph. After all, his betrothed was unfaithful.
Since this teen girl gave birth soon after arriving in Bethlehem, we can only surmise she was in labor during the trip. No room at the inn, thus she placed Jesus in an animal’s feeding trough. There is little to romanticize. It was not warm and cozy, but instead dark and damp.
When you think about it Christmas brings less joy than Easter. It is the beginning of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. His earthly journey towards the cross begins that night, and there are many difficult days in between.
DO YOU WAKE UP EXCITED AND FULL OF JOY EASTER?
However, we don’t romanticize Easter. The excitement after a Christmas Eve service is palpable. People rush home to spend time with family, read the Christmas story with kids, wrap presents, build toys – you can feel the emotion.
However, the congregation leaves Easter morning service in a hurry to eat out or take the ham out of the oven, but the passion isn’t there. We seem bored and disinterested.
Why aren’t we reflecting on the enormity of what we celebrated? Come on, Jesus endured the hideous cross and overcame death for all believers. Our salvation is secure.
Seeing Jesus after the resurrection inspired different emotions in the people who saw Him. Do we wake up excited like the women who found the empty tomb?
How about the thankfulness of Peter’s second chance or even the skepticism of Thomas? At least this disciple was considering the possibility of this miracle and what it means.
Or do we drag ourselves out of bed for the sunrise service wishing the sun came up later? Often Easter Monday leaves me empty with no tears for the crucifixion,
or rejoicing for the resurrection.
Both are part of this sacred holiday.
God, guide us to learn more about this great sacrifice and the miracle of our salvation. Help us find our joy this Easter.