“And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you."
- Romans 8:11
When it comes to holidays, Easter would most certainly make everyone's top ten list, if not ascending near the number one spot when it comes to both celebration and significance. For those who have awakened to the reality of God's love and unwrapped the gift of Jesus' salvation, there are no greater events to remember and rejoice in than Christmas and Easter. At Christmas we celebrate the miracle of Christ's birth, as the Light came into the world and the gift of peace was provided to us. Every December we are refocused and reenergized with "Christmas Spirit" through the singing of heartfelt carols, the giving of gifts, decorating our homes, and filling our hearts with joy. In the same way this wonderful transformation takes over the month of December, as we come to this Easter Sunday I want to encourage us to live in the fullest dimension of "Easter Spirit".
What is "Easter Spirit"? That is a great question. To answer that we must remember what took place on that first Easter Sunday morning as Jesus' friends arrived at the tomb and were about to have their sorrow healed, their fears answered, and their lives forever changed. As we turn to the Gospel accounts we see the disciples returning to the tomb to properly prepare Jesus' body for burial, as they were unable to perform this special ceremony due to the Sabbath. Although Jesus had told them beforehand that He would rise from the grave, there was little expectation and joy as they arrived to the tomb. This is where the Easter miracle was about to begin and bear fruit! In Matthew 28:5-6 they are greeted by an angel with the greatest news of the greatest victory, “The angels said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He is risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay."
For us to live in "Easter Spirit" is to arrive to this holy celebration with an expectation that the life-giving, death-defeating, and joy-filling power of Jesus' resurrection is alive today and at work in our hearts. Before we begin our Easter celebration as a church family, before the opening prayer, jubilant declaration in song, and preaching of truth, let's take time (in our hearts and minds) to go to the tomb, to see it empty, and to always be strengthened by the reality that this is the place where life wins! From the colorful attire worn at church to the unparalleled display of gleeful energy as kids go searching for and filling baskets with eggs, Easter is a holiday that is marked by radiant JOY and VICTORY! The Easter miracle can release powerful answers that can overcome our places of fear, sorrow, pain, and loss. Church family and dear friends, I have good news for us all: "Easter spirit" can be celebrated every day because the Tomb is still empty and the victory of Jesus is still working wonderfully on our behalf.