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Liz Crossman reflects on God's all conquering power and that one day we will spend time with him in Heaven.

As a child, I knew that every Easter I would get a new outfit for church and dye Easter eggs, and the Easter Bunny would leave a basket of candy. I never did like the Peeps, but I loved those bright candy eggs with something white on the inside. Without doubt, Easter was a joyous time, but it wasn’t until I was older that the true meaning and joy of Easter emerged.

My husband, David, and I welcomed our son, Matthew, into our lives in 1970. We had anticipated his birth with love and joyful hearts, not knowing what God’s plan was for us. You see, Matthew was born with cystic fibrosis, and our lives were forever changed. As Matthew grew, his health was always an issue, but we did our best to keep his childhood as normal as possible. That included buying new outfits, dyed eggs and a basket full of colored cellophane grass and candy at Easter. (He didn’t like Peeps, either.) We also had a greater understanding of and trust in the promise God made when He sacrificed His Son, Jesus.

Matthew passed away in late March of 1985, a week before Easter. Of course, we mourned our loss and have missed Matthew every day since. But we knew that God had called him and would keep His promise of eternal life. John 11:25-26, ESV, says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”

Since 1985, we have not celebrated Easter with new clothes, colored eggs or candy. Instead, we rejoice in the promise that Jesus’ death and resurrection brings. We know one day we will join Matthew in God’s Kingdom. Until that time, I will always grin when I pass the Peeps on the market shelves at Easter time.

PRAYER
Heavenly Father, by raising Christ Your Son, You conquered the power of death and opened for us the way to eternal life. Let our celebration today raise us up and renew our lives by the Spirit that is within us. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

FOR DISCUSSION
1. How do life experiences influence our understanding and beliefs of holidays?
2. Are life’s challenges really mercies in disguise?
3. Do traditions like dyeing Easter eggs, getting new Easter clothes and giving out candy-filled baskets augment or diminish the importance of Easter?
4. Reflect on the awe of Christ rising from death and the earth’s awakening from winter to spring. Is it possibly God’s sign that though something appears dead, it’s not?
5. What signs did Jesus give to His disciples to prove He was not dead?

By Liz Crossman, former chair of the Habitat for Humanity International board of directors.

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