The resurrection promises new beginnings

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bunnies, baby chicks, colored hard-boiled eggs, candy and flowers are all symbols of Easter for both Christians and non-Christians. However Christians focus most on the passion, especially the cross, the Jesse Tree and the washing of the feet -- to name a few ways Christians celebrate the season of Easter. Encarta Dictionary describes the word Easter as "the Christian festival in spring, a Christian festival marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

When I was a child, I loved the thought of the Easter Bunny bringing colored eggs and different candies in an exciting and beautifully ornamented basket. What cheerful wonders that basket flaunted from inside! Colorful assorted eggs looked up at me: red, orange, blue and green and the same held true for my candy. What an awesome treat! I dared not stay up too late for fear the bunny would see that I was still awake. The Easter Bunny peeked in windows, people said.

As I matured, however, I learned the true reason that Christians celebrate Easter. To know that Christ rose from the dead on that day made it exceptionally important. My first understanding of resurrection was, of course, built into the passion of Jesus. Then, Easter became a personal encouragement because it meant that if Jesus rose from the dead, then I too would rise again. That knowledge made a huge difference in how I felt about, and approached, both life and death.

Death became a transition I ought not to fear. Most people are frightened to encounter the process of dying, but death is a condition to welcome if you know that you will continue to live in a spiritual sense. Your sins can be forgiven and you will be freed from that baggage. You too can again truly fly like the eagle.

The season of Easter also brought other insights to me. It is a reference to new life, period. This can mean new life in your attitude and mood when you're feeling down and despondent. You can rise from that state because Jesus is there to lift you up. Just as fresh tender grass thrusts itself up from the ground, baby chicks emerge from that cracked shell, and people rise above unpleasant happenings.

Indeed, Easter is the beginning of everything that is new, beautiful, fresh and hopeful. It guarantees the promise that all things can again become fresh.

You can rise many times in different ways when you believe in Jesus and the resurrection. Never believe that anything is all over. Nothing is forever, not even death.

Those who are depressed need to realize that although it may seem to be so, situations are never final. Things can get better and this is because of Easter. Regardless of how bleak, frightening, cloudy and jolting an event is, a new day presents itself and the sun will shine again. After night time is over, dawn always follows. With the warmth of the sun everything seems brighter and more inviting. You see God's work in all its awesomeness. You wonder how you could have allowed an occurrence or feeling to mar your outlook so drastically.

People must choose to read inspirational literature, pray, maintain the company of positive companions and search for beauty in the world. Another hand is always available to hold yours if you but reach out and grasp it.

Since Easter assures that you can always have a new life, what new beginnings do you desire? A different social network, a better education, a family, children or better health? Maybe you merely need a perspective that allows you to accept what you must. Jesus can remake your mind and your heart. "I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)

Easter is a time of limitless joy because the resurrection says we can "shed our skin and rise to new life every day."

Ellen Shuck holds degrees in psychology, religious education and spiritual direction and provides spiritual direction to people at her office.

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