It's Easter Sunday morning and people are passing messages to each other in person, by telephone and over the internet. Some speak of the Easter bunny. Others prepare or make coloured eggs. Still others have celebrations with family or friends where they share specially-prepared breads and foods. And underneath it all is the question "What is Easter?"
When I was a child Easter began with hunting for the Easter eggs that were hidden for us. The sweetness came in different shapes and packaging and a medium-sized chocolate rabbit would be carefully savoured for more than a day. Following this, we would dress in our new spring outfits and head for church where were had our first glimpse of the brightly-coloured hats and clothing that women had carefully chosen for this day of transformation.
The music was lively and pews that were not always filled in the winter services were now packed with happy singers. The sermon reminded us of hope and renewal and new beginnings. The people reminded us that joy was available to all.
After the service, there was handshaking and laughter and visiting despite the fact that the Easter feast was nearly ready at home.
And then we would share a meal with our guests and talk about planting crops and gardens - more new beginnings.
Yes, Easter was a time of family, church, fun, and hope.
But today, we often live in communities where people don't know their neighbours. Many have lost the connection they once had with a church family. We easily purchased new clothing - not because it is Easter - but just because.
What is Easter? For some it is a holiday. For others it is an extra day from work. For others it is a way for the chocolate companies to increase their profits.
For me Easter is much more subjective. It is a reminder that God of the universe had and has a wonderful plan for each of us. It is a time for reflection involving the personal relationship that is open to all who are willing to recognize and accept it. It is a celebration of the hope which is offered to those who believe not just on Easter but for all time.
Easter is much more than chocolate and clothing and singing. It is about knowing without a doubt that we are not alone and never will be again. That's internal.
But doesn't that just make you want to celebrate, sing, and let your day be filled with joy and thanks? An outward expression of what's going on inside of us.
That's what Easter is all about!