My Easter centerpiece this year is rather ... boring, I suppose. While others sport bunnies and folk art chicks and brilliantly-colored eggs, my display consists of stuff I gathered around Freeman House: lamb's ear, ivy, wildflowers, dead leaves, grapes and growing grape vines, a bird's nest (abandoned in the fall), and undyed eggs. Rather a dull and heaping visual-mishmash, isn't it?
But this year, the centerpiece actually means something to me. Really. You see, for a Christian, Easter is the celebration of celebrations. It's the time of year we stand in joyfully in awe of the gift of our Savior. Of His death, burial, and resurrection. Sure, we wear dresses and file into pews. We eat ham and asparagus and new potatoes. But to us, Easter is more than bunnies and baskets. It's about Christ and the crucifixion. About His resurrection and His redemption. In a word, Easter is about a heavenly hope.
So as I prepared an Easter display this year, I wandered about, thinking of how blessed I am... how blessed we all are... to have an Easter to celebrate. In the garden I noticed the lamb's ear and thought of how Jesus is often referred to as the "Lamb of God", whose sacrifice did indeed take away the sins of the world. In went the lamb's ear.
Then I saw the wildflowers and thought of the verse that says, The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of God will stand forever. Forever. The word will stand forever because of the resurrection. I picked the wildflowers.
Walking past the tender and entwining grape vine, I remembered the Last Supper and Jesus praying in the garden, saying, Father, if it's possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. But let your will be done rather than mine. (Matthew 26:39.) Down came the grape vine and in went the grapes.
And of course, the eggs. Every Easter has to have eggs. But after thinking through it, I gently laid one in the bird's nest that used to nestle in the crepe myrtle. It calmed me, thinking of what Jesus said in John 10:29: What my Father has given me is more precious than all besides; and no one is able to wrest anything from my Father's hand. I was reminded that we are precious... secure and precious, bought and paid for on Easter, and that just as an egg sits treasured and secure in a nest, so too do we sit treasured and secure in the hand of our heavenly Father. Nothing will wrest us from that nest....
And it's because of Easter. It's all because of Easter. Thank you, God.
Please pass the hope... and the ham.
Do not abandon yourselves to despair.
We are the Easter people
And hallelujah is our song.
-Pope John Paul II