Easter is a time of celebration. While it has disintegrated into a celebration of cute bunnies and funny tasty candy (Peeps, anyone?) its still a cause for hoopla. Of course, Christians know that the reason we celebrate has nothing to do with the trappings of the day and has everything to do with why the day was originally established. It was set aside as a day to remember the resurrection of our Lord and Savior – a day when death no longer had victory.
Preceding Easter, many people ascribe to a tradition known as Lent. During these forty days they give up something of importance to them. It was popular this year to give up Facebook – an acknowledgment perhaps that the time we devote to “friending” people we knew in grade school might be better spent doing something else. The idea is that we sacrifice because Christ sacrificed, and in doing so we honor His death.
While the intention of Lent is a good one, I wonder if we trivialize what Christ did by thinking that our abstention from chocolate for a month, really equates to what He did on the cross. After all, He gave up the one thing that we are all longing for – daily communion with our Creator. He had peace that surpassed understanding, love abounding, and joy inexpressible, and He left that for what we experience here on Earth – an absence of peace, fleeting love, and mitigated joy. Our willingness to give up worldly pleasures doesn’t compare to His relinquishing of heaven’s gifts. And while we a never be able to match Christ’s sacrifice, we can give Him all we have – our life, our love, and the talents He has so graciously bestowed upon us. It’s still not a fair trade for what He had to endure, but it’s the best we have to give.
We want to compartmentalize our gifts to God. We want to say, “I’ll give up TV, but I’m keeping my covetousness.” We’ll give up treats but hoard our independence. May we determine here and now that just as He gave up everything, so will we. With the same intention as His – that our Father may receive glory.