Why do I get melancholy around Easter?
While parents are hiding eggs, my mom is stuffing baskets full of chocolates and little treats (because she still does that for her 5 adult kids), while families are shopping for new dresses and suits for church, I feel a weight. No, not because I think any of those things are bad… I have nothing against fun or family celebrations.
As a Christian, I know that Easter is a happy time, but after Palm Sunday, grief always sets in- this is the week my Jesus died.
This is the week He was betrayed by His most trusted friends. This is the time we remember Him being beaten and humiliated in public. The Jesus I love allowed Himself to be hung on a cross until his human body was lifeless…
This is a scene that has been reenacted in movies and on television hundreds of times. If you are reading this, you have seen a graphic crucifixion scene. Most people are completely desensitized to it. In churches across the globe, followers memorialize the sacrifice by putting on “Passion Plays” meant to look just like His death and resurrection. I have seen countless reenactments, and I have to say, I cannot watch. I have always cringed at the sound of every lashing, the look of agony on the actor’s face brings tears to my eyes, and seeing His pain and suffering is something I cannot look on without having an emotional reaction. I never want to desensitize to it.
Each year I mourn the anniversaries of my closest loved ones who have passed, and would never want a replay of how those I love died. Would you?
After 9/11, everywhere you looked there were images of the towers coming down. It was too much. It broke my heart every time. I grew up in NYC. In that moment, people I knew and my beloved memories tumbled down with the planes. If you are deeply connected to it, it causes you grief when you remember the loss and pain.
To me, knowing Christ isn’t religious. It is a friendship. Deeper. An admiration. Stronger. A love that is beyond all other loves. When your spiritual life is supernatural, it’s personal, ever-changing, shifting and growing.
I had considered myself a Christian for a while, but it wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s that it hit me what His forgiveness truly meant. GRACE. I didn’t need to feel controlled by sleepless guilt, heavy burdens and worry any more. Knowing the meaning of grace and being inside of God’s grace are very different. My freedom had already been paid for- understanding that gift has changed me. Allowing my life to be ruled by regrets and endless concerns for the future was not God’s plan for me- the price had been paid.
Even though I grieve His suffering and His death this week, and I wish He could have paid the toll for us a different way, it is so beautiful that He gave His life willingly so that we could finally know the bountiful love and hope of God.
When Easter Sunday comes around, the melancholy will lift, grief will turn to gratitude, and I’ll be focused on His grace and resurrection. His broken, beaten body was renewed and is waiting for us in paradise. Someday, this wrecked, fragile body will also be whole, without pain, without illness, and I’ll be able to look into His eyes and thank Him face to face for His gift of love, grace and forgiveness.
Have a blessed Easter week, and peace to those observing Passover.