To me, Easter is just as religious a holiday, as Christmas. After all, they are both central to the life, more specifically the birth and then death & resurrection of our Savior. Yet, as I look around at the local grocery store, there is nothing evident to that fact. It's obvious as the years go on, these holidays, and Christmas in particular, has become more worldly, secular to be more accurate.
As Easter has crept upon me, I have had little desire this year to gather the Easter baskets and fill them with goodies, trinkets and what not. I cannot recall in the scriptures, where gifts were given at the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior. Don't get me wrong, in years past I have fallen in the trap of purchasing for my children toys and candy on this sacred holiday. But for what purpose? That is what I find asking myself now, more than any years past. I did away with toys a while ago, but the candy still finds its way in the hole to be filled from the baskets.
What got me thinking about this was the announcement of the so called Easter bunny that would be available for pictures at a local mall. I will admit, I have gathered my small children in tow, screaming and throwing fits because the bunny was just, well, not "bunny like", to have their picture taken. And why? I regret now that I put my children through such misery, that they most likely will never remember (except the screaming one of course) and that had little or no meaning to why we were celebrating Easter.
Easter should be one of, if not, the most sacred holiday we celebrate. In our church, the focus isn't solely on the crucifying of our Lord, as important of an event that was. It was part of the plan, it was required. However, what sometimes gets over looked, or not touched upon as much as it should, is the resurrection of Jesus. That was also part of the plan. Had there been no resurrection, what hope would we have?
Having lost a child, it brings comfort to me, to know that we all will be resurrected, and live again. That because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, his death, and rising again on the third day; that THAT is what makes it possible for us to live again with Heavenly Father, and our loved ones that we are missing right now.
When our baby was on the verge of death, hospital officials asked us if we wanted to have her baptized. We responded no. In fact John asked them... "When was the last time you saw a baby sin?" No one answered. Some thought our daughter was going to go to hell if we didn't baptize her. I had absolutely no worries in my heart and mind about the matter. I knew, that because our Savior had died on the cross, and had risen again on the third day, that because of that event, and scripture that I know to be true, that our baby was taken in the arms of the Savior and allowed to live among him, Heavenly Father, and millions of others who have passed through the veil to continue on in life "on the other side". And I also know that one day, the Savior will return, and all those who have died, will reunite their spirit with their bodies, and we will all live again. That is the gift that is given to each and every one of us. There is not enough chocolate, or marshmallow chicks that can compensate for the knowledge I have of the plan of Salvation, and that if our Savior did not come down to do what he did there WOULD be an end to our life here on earth.
I understand the meaning of "spring" and the renewal of life, and why the bunny is part of this holiday, but let us not forget that our renewal of life is drawn from our Savior, and only through him can our renewal happen.
I'm no perfect parent, that is for sure. I give in like everyone else, to the goodies and treats that come with the season. But I know that if I don't teach my children what the true meaning of such holidays are about, then I am doing them a disservice and continuing the trend of forgetfulness when it comes to Easter and Christmas.
I love this time of year when the days start to get warmer, the sun shines more, the flowers begin to bloom, and within me there is a desire to try to be better. And I am grateful for my Savior who died for me. ME. And YOU. Every single one of us. And more importantly, that he rose again. That is the greatest story of all.