When I was growing up, Easter Sunday was my favorite day of the year. Even more than opening presents on Christmas, I loved the Easter egg hunt. My family’s egg hunt was much more than an activity, but it was a ruthless competition, where the winner would win a crisp $50 bill, and, more importantly, the pride of finding the money egg. It was always hidden in the most obscure place – underground, inside a lemon, or in someone’s pocket – and we loved being the child praised for our ability to seek it out. My worst nightmare came true when I turned 13 and my uncle told me that it was the last year I was allowed to play. I couldn’t believe he was serious. How could my uncle take away the best part of Easter from me? What was there to look forward to now?
As we begin this new liturgical season, I find myself having similar thoughts to the ones I had in eighth grade. Certain traditions fizzle out or people cancel last minute and our Easter experience is no longer what we look forward to. .
So maybe it’s time to look somewhere else. Everyone knows that Easter is a time for joy, but it’s important to remember that Easter is also a time for hope. We do not find joy in worldly things, but Easter reminds us that our joy is found in the hope of resurrection. This can seem contradictory because thoughts about resurrection and afterlife are often unsettling, but this is what is supposed to be our greatest joy.
And our actions during Lent confirm this fact. Why do we fast and sacrifice during Lent? The aim is not to increase the pleasures of our Easter Sunday celebration, but rather because our detachment from worldly items gives us the freedom to experience a joy and hope in the promise that Jesus makes through His own Resurrection. Easter tells us that we have eternal joy to look forward to, a joy that is supposed to last much longer than the Easter season, a joy that surpasses winning any egg hunt. I pray we can all enter in to these next 50 days and experience a taste of this eternal joy.