Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Living the Joy of Easter

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I tossed a salad while hubby placed the buttery rolls on the table. Easter celebration nudged us to hunt for memories.

"Do you remember how Joe would make us laugh with his silly comments?" I said to my adult sons at the dinner table.

They affirmed. And we all laughed remembering Joe's wit, his unique insights and his gusto for life.

But that laughter visited us only after a long, painful and devastating period of grief. When we first faced the anguish of his death in such a brutal way, my world turned upside down with heartache. I sunk in desperation and wondered how I could ever face my tomorrows dragging the heavy chain of sorrow.

But one day, in my heart, I saw my answer. Christ also dragged the cross. I saw Him bleed his pain. Without complaint, sorrow scraped his heart too. And then nailed on the wood, he tasted the bitterness of betrayal mixed with the hardship of injustice.

Why did He not fight? Beg for freedom from the cross? Or curse His fate?

The answer nearly exploded in my heart. Because He knew glory awaited Him. He was certain eternity was his. And He counted on heaven.

"I want the same," my soul cried out. And God heard my plea. So with the celebration of the resurrection of hope, and the rebirth of my joy, came a new beginning - my own Easter Sunday.

And while wearing the new outfit of healing, of joy and renewed gusto, I got busy creating a new joy-filled life. When the day comes and my chair is empty at the dinner table, what will my family say about my life? While they scoop up a second helping of mashed potatoes or more slices of honey-baked ham, Will they remember the way I dreaded my Calvary or will they recall how I lived my Easters?

How about you? Have you reached your own Easter of triumph for others to see? Whether sorrow or serenity, we're subtly creating a legacy, weaving memories and painting strokes on our own portrait. The one our family will hold in their hearts.

And for the Easters to come, the portrait will display the life we lived, the values we held and the conviction that danced in our heart when we answered:

  • Did we sink under the weight of our cross?
  • Did we keep moving with the strength of hope?
  • Did we relish on our own Easter of joy?
  • Did we choose to see life beyond circumstances, or did circumstances see us to despair?
  • Did we face challenges with determination, or did we allow them to determine our destiny?
  • Did we look for tomorrow with passion, or did momentary trials rob the passion for today?
  • Did we reach out to others to encourage them, or did our own discouragement reached out to hold us back?
  • Did we live life rich with God's reassurance, or did we live empty of His grace?
  • Did fear steal our joy, or did God's joy erase all fear?
  • Did we do things for our own interest, or did we first take interest in God's ways?
  • Did we follow our plans, or did we first plan to follow God's path?
  • Did we fret over petty things, or find the power of God's precepts?

No matter what the answer, there is no cross of pain that can hold us down, no suffering that can hold us back because Jesus is alive. And with passionate Love He declares,

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 NIV)

Father, I thank you for the triumph. And I pray your everlasting love nourishes my desires, goals, and dreams. I ask for wisdom to leave a legacy that honors you, resonates with my children's children, and reflects my obedience to your precepts. In Jesus' name, amen.

Copyright © Janet Perez Eckles, used by permission.

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