I have a conflicted relationship with Easter. I understand it’s the holy grail of Christian holidays, but I’ve rarely celebrated with the appropriate religious verve. While my friends are tweeting their casualties of Lent and claiming to re-watch Mel Gipson’s Jesus movie, I’m searching for the best brunch deals and hoping church won’t go too long.
Blasphemy, I know.
I told you, I have a conflicted relationship with Easter.
Perhaps it’s not Easter I have a problem with but the way we go about celebrating it. Growing up, I always felt Easter was the weekend we pretended to be more excited about our faith than we actually were. It was like a spiritual pep rally for the overdressed, thoroughly-caffeinated middle class. We were obligated to show up, we cheered on cue, and only the pretty people were allowed on stage.
Pep rallies aren’t all bad, but the holiday’s unforgiving dress code drove me further into spiritual ambivalence. With each annual Easterpalooza I was required to put on a necktie, uncomfortable shoes, and a reverent attitude — I don’t wear any of those things well.
But recently I’ve begun to wonder if Easter is about more than the way we celebrate it. What if Easter isn’t defined by pastel church banners, over-the-top lily arrangements, or operatic specials belted out by amateur sopranos?
What if Easter is about something simpler and better? Like the brokenness we don’t have to live with any more.
I think the power of the Gospel is that Jesus came into our brokenness. Broken laws, broken systems, broken religion — a broken world. He didn’t observe through heavenly binoculars with disgust and disdain. He showed up and walked with us in our darkness. He felt our burden. He understood our suffering. And then He went about the task of fixing it all.
Something beautiful happens when you fix what is broken. Though my children seem to be aging faster than genetically possible, they still occasionally bring me their broken things. What used to sound like, “Dada, toy broken. Fix it, peas,” now sounds like, “Hey, Dad, this game system won’t work. I need you to fix it.”
And even though it’s not as cute as it used to be, the request is the same: This is broken. I can’t fix it on my own. I need someone to help me.
This is the world Jesus came into. We were broken. We couldn’t fix it on our own. We needed someone to help us. And His death, burial, and resurrection provided a way to fix the brokenness. In one triumphant weekend, sin was overruled and death was overwhelmed. Jesus cast off the noose of oppression all humanity had been straining against since the Garden. Finally, we could breathe again.
Though we’ve been reconnected with God, the painful reality we all know to be true is that we still deal with brokenness. Broken promises, broken dreams, broken hearts — broken lives. But just as He did before, Jesus shows up in our darkness. He forgives our failures. He heals our wounds. He restores our hope. He goes about the task of fixing every broken thing we can’t fix on our own.
So this Easter I’ll choose not to get caught up in the production of the holiday. I’m sure church will be fancy, my shoes will be uncomfortable, and there will be a preposterous lily extravaganza on display. But I’m not going to focus on the celebration. Instead I’ll focus on the Savior. I’ll thank Him that He’s powerful enough to fix the brokenness of the world — but He’s personal enough to fix my brokenness too.
That’s something to celebrate.