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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter?



Easter is a weird holiday. Some serious religious dudes a long time ago decided the resurrection of Christ should be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. Okay. At some point bunnies got involved. A pastel-chicken-egg toting bunny. Then the eggs and assorted candy gets hidden. So little kids find the stuff, and then we get dressed up. Then there's ham. Or lamb. And finally, they show Charlton Heston crossing the Red Sea on TV.

I don't know. That's weird to me. But it's fun, and I like it. I like the random (and yeah, I know, there's a pagan story behind everything . . . that doesn't make it any less random) celebrations involved in Easter, including the name itself that tells us nothing at all about what the holiday is supposed to be about.

And I really like the fact that Easter is a celebration of something a dead guy did . . . while He was dead. I know that sounds irreverent, but I say it to emphasize the awe and respect Jesus deserves for the power of His resurrection. He was dead. And then He wasn't. And there was no one to come along and lay a healing hand on Him. A dead man, of His own will and power (two things most dead men don't have), stopped being dead. That is scary. I think the random celebrations just might spring out of our inability to come to terms with the power of the resurrection.

Yes, there is hope. Yes, there is joy. But a dead person coming back to life on His own is straight-up crazy frightening to think about. So we just plain do not think about it. We celebrate it. We acknowledge that it happened. But we don't dwell on the idea of what happened too much. Not really. If we did, we wouldn't adorn ourselves in pastels. Heck, we wouldn't wear our nicest clothes, because the thought of what happened should make us mess ourselves.

I won't bemoan the fact that we've become familiar with the craziness of that moment. It's okay. We can't handle it. So . . . we invent mythical bunnies. It's a classic post-shock coping mechanism. And when virgins give birth, we invent obese benevolent elves. That's okay. Really. It's better to just believe and move on then to attempt to understand and/or fathom. We are not psychologically equipped to handle the truth of God's power. I'll give a nod right now to the reality that God is omnipotent, Jesus is scary powerful (literally, frightening . . . He scared His friends half to death on multiple occasions . . . for crying out loud, walking on water was not even in the top two coolest things He ever did . . . that's messed up insane powerful) and I marvel instead at how cute my kids are. Not that I can fathom that either (God sure knows how to make a cute kid), but at least it's not entirely unnerving.
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