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A shiny new pair of shoes, a hot cross bun, hiding colorful eggs, the big furry white bunny, the resurrection, a basket full of candy....What does Easter mean to you? Obviously, as we pass through different phases of life it means different things. As I am now 51 years old, which means I have completed several life phases, it is none of the above. It is more than something that is tangible. It is hope.
Hope is a powerful thing. It gives way to a new beginning, a tomorrow, another chance, a do over. Hope can chase away the darkest of days, despair and evil. Hope will illuminate a path that had previously seemed impossible to pass. Isaiah 40:31 says,
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." 0000016b-3347-dac3-a5ff-3767466e0000
Hope is a gift that God gives us time and time again, unconditionally. I realize that many people think of this as superstition and not fact. However, for Christians, Christ's resurrection offers us the greatest hope ever known to man. It doesn't matter what your church creed is, your denomination, your philosophy, what color your church is painted, how many choir members you have, if you sprinkle or dip, or if your church has a steeple or stained glass. Without Christ, Christianity would be just another one of those man made, dead religions. A religion that some mortal man came up with, probably to stroke his ego.
So stop this Easter and take a look at the portrait Christ paints for us every Spring. It is a painting of renewed hope as the dismal landscape becomes brilliant with trees budding and flowers rising out of the cold hard ground. There's a celebration by all God's creatures from the caterpillar forming his cocoon and then becoming a beautiful butterfly to a large bear awakening from a long winter's nap. When I look around and see all the glory in mother nature, it to me is God's first speech. It is God saying, "Yes, I may be invisible to you but look around you. I created the birds in the air, the fish in the vast seas, and every animal that takes a breath." Nature alone should draw you to the hand of God. Christ gives you a snapshot of new beginnings, of hope, and a promising tomorrow.
Easter also is a beautiful picture of forgiveness. There has been so much hurt and sadness lately in our country. Forgiving others opens the door to many possibilities. It is such a hard thing to do; I am the worst at it, but it is a powerful thing when you truly forgive. It brings about unconditional love, real understanding, renewed trust, stronger relationships and provides that hope we have been talking about. Interestingly enough, when our lives are rocking and rolling along we have no questions, BUT when our lives take a turn for the worse and things seem to spiral out of control, we then have no answers.
We have no answers when innocent kids get killed for wearing the wrong thing, or someone gets bullied because they are a certain faith, or because of a mistake we made we lose our family and friends. Therefore, even if you don't believe in Christ, why not try emulating Him. It could provide many of the answers you are seeking! His legacy is one we all could learn from. None of us will ever be perfect as He was, but we can do a better job of following His lead.
We can all try loving each other, forgiving each other, and offering hope to each other! What would be wrong with having these aspirations? Not a thing! It will enhance your family, your friendships, your neighborhood and your city. Coming together with hope, love and forgiveness offers a fresh start, a new beginning.
So ladies and gentlemen, let His hope flood into your world, warming your soul with an opportunity for love and forgiveness. Look around at what all life has given you as opposed to what it has taken from you. My sincere hope and prayer for each and every person reading this is you will be rescued from the cold, the pain and the despair. The warmth is a feeling like none other! I wish you the happiest, most hopeful Easter and may all your tomorrows bring an abundance of blessings!
Photo credit by: cwarnercarey
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