Tonight I read A.J. a children’s book about Easter—the real Easter story, not the one in which the bunny delivers candy and the whole ordeal is sweet and happy and colorful. Though it is admittedly difficult to portray this story to a three-year-old whom I am constantly riding about not playing too violently, it is really important to me that he know what Easter is really about before he gets so buried in chocolate eggs and Peeps that he doesn’t care what we are celebrating or why.
He listened contentedly. He asked some questions about why the mean guys were trying to get Jesus in trouble when he had done nothing wrong. But he didn’t flinch when I told him that Jesus died on the cross. Nor was he surprised when Jesus’ friends found only an angel at the empty tomb, proclaiming that Jesus could not be found because he was alive again.
Maybe before Joshua’s rebirth, I also read the Easter story without grasping what a miracle this was. I believed that it happened, but I bet I took it for granted. I don’t think I could have known the (for lack of a better description, although this is an extreme understatement--) ecstatic relief of Jesus’ mother, Mary, when she wrapped her brain around the fact that her beloved was no longer dead; when she realized that the outcome was not the worst, as she had thought, but was actually the best, for not only was Jesus alive, but He had saved the rest of us too, just as He had promised.
It was two years ago today that we buried our son. Easter was the first major holiday celebrated after this difficult season, and I dreaded it greatly when I went out to stores the week before. Parents were shopping on behalf of the Easter bunny to make the occasion special for their children, and I remember that I was wandering around Michaels’, looking for a pretty ribbon and some flowers that Joshua might have enjoyed (as much as boys enjoy flowers). At that moment, I felt sad and resentful that this was my lot. But then on Easter morning, a relief hit me that because of this day, I didn’t need to worry about not seeing Joshua again. In fact, I began feeling grateful that I had something more legitimate than Cadbury eggs to rejoice over.
After this day, the “Black Monday” for our family, we have only happier times to look forward to. As we embark upon yet another holiday season, I hope you may find joy and peace in the real miracle of Easter, just as we intend to do.