This is what I'm thinking about today:
* I was totally unprepared for the Easter holiday. No Easter baskets or candy. Didn't dye eggs. (We did boil them and I left them for my parents to "enjoy" with the kids. My mom said, "Eh... we'll see. I guess egg dying apathy runs in the family.) No Easter egg hunts and the only reason they had new clothes, was because my mom remembered it was Easter and took care of that. And the Princess puking at 2am didn't help.
* The kids NEVER mentioned a word. They didn't care that there was no Easter basket or candy. They found last year's plastic eggs and hid them in the house. I'm praying it's because they really don't care and don't expect and don't feel entitled, but it could be because I've forgotten before.
* I hate the "non-religious" side of Easter. I do. I'm sorry if you just unfollowed my blog because of that. I really am not judging you. I'm not quite as negative about Santa, but the Easter bunny and the candy and the clothes... for some reason, is a much bigger distraction for me. Living here, in beautiful Charleston, dressing up for Easter is a big deal. The Man of the House affectionately refers to it as "Seersucker Sunday." For obvious reasons. And I guess it was a big deal when I was growing up, too. I get the concept. Really, I do. We want to look our best on this important day for the Church. But I find myself getting sucked into the appearance of this day more than any other holiday. I just want to sit with the Truth of Easter, but my heart and my mind wander away. (And I also think that shopping mall bunnies are creepy.)
* My mom made my favorite Easter Sunday meal yesterday. And I'm grateful for fresh asparagus and I'm sad for those of you who didn't grow up eating it.
* What did the day after Easter mean 2000 years ago? Today, I sit in my pjs and reflect on what I did wrong yesterday. All the things I forgot and missed and didn't do. I imagine that's what the guards outside the tomb must have done, too. "How did this happen?" "How could I have screwed this up?! He was dead!" "What could I have done differently?" "How am I going to tell my wife about this?" Those who didn't believe Jesus- or in Him- sat in defeat the day after Easter. Much like... me.
I'm 99.9% sure that is not what the day after Easter looked like for Mary and the other women. Or the disciples. Or those who had risked their lives in support of this man. Or those who sat on the fence about what they thought of Jesus... until this day. All of it came together the day after Easter. It became personal.
This is what I heard in my seat, at the 8:30 service, of the North Charleston Dream Center Campus of Seacoast Church: The Good News becomes Great Joy when it becomes personal.
The Gospel is always GOOD. It is still NEWS for those who haven't heard it yet. But somewhere along the way, we allow ourselves to lose the JOY. We forget that Jesus is personal... for us... today.
A forgotten Easter basket. Humdrum clothes. Even more than that: My marriage is failing, my child has lost his way. My addiction is out-of-control, my abortion choice has devastated me. I've lied, I've cheated, I've lost...
But hang on. It's the day after Easter. What was lost is now found. What was blind can see. The out-of-control is put into focus. The imperfect becomes perfect. Death is brought to life. All things become new. When my hurt, my pain, my defeat interacts with the Good News, that is a risen Jesus, I can have joy.
So for me? Today? The day after Easter? I'm choosing Great Joy!