Following a detour off the main highway that took me along a dark and deserted road on my way home from work, we met when he hopped onto the roadway in front of me, his mind clearly preoccupied with the business of hiding Easter eggs in the rural neighborhood I was passing through. Thankfully he lifted his eyes in time to see the headlights rapidly approaching him and bounded away in the nick of time. The children scouring the yards in that area on the following Sunday morning would find their bunny bounty after all.
I smiled in relief that he had escaped the crush of my oncoming wheels when a friend and coworker told me the next morning that her little sister was determined to catch him in a trap in her backyard. Using an old cage from her sister’s days raising rabbits in 4-H, the little girl baited her trap nightly… with jelly beans, of course!…surely the Easter Bunny’s food item of choice. Every morning of the week before the holiday the little girl had gone out to check for success before catching the bus for school, only to go to bed with hope in her heart once more that night.
Her big sister couldn’t bear her daily disappointment and so, with her mother’s permission, planned to visit a local farm market for a long-eared fuzzy version of the same to put in the trap early Easter morning. The thought of her surprise and excitement delighted us as we discussed the joy of her sister’s discovery days ahead of the fact.
I remember trying to catch an Easter feeling years ago that seemed to be as elusive as that holiday rabbit. For some, Easter is simply about bunnies and baskets, pretty dresses and big dinners with family and friends. But having been raised in church, I knew there was more to the day than that. For me the holiday was about an empty tomb, a risen Savior, and a heavenly hope restored. Each year during Holy Week I would focus on the events leading up to the Cross and hope that by Easter morning I would find the spiritual joy I was increasingly desperately looking for.
Thankfully there was an amazing moment of discovery during the intervening years in which I learned that the peace I was seeking was not a feeling I had to conjure up, but rather existed in the form of the Savior Himself. While I was right to seek Him, He came in response to the invitation in my heart, rather than the baited promises I put out in the hopes of luring Him in. Once inside He simply remained, changing everything about me and making every day a joyous celebration of His presence within me.
Perhaps that was why an elderly lady’s comment this past week caught my attention. She said that for her, Easter was just another day. She understood and loved the meaning behind it, but that the day itself meant nothing more than the one before or the one that would come after it.
That bothered me at the time; I thought it sad that she found nothing to celebrate in the day itself. But when Easter is a mindset, not single day of celebration, then every day can be filled with resurrection power, joy, and wonder that He lives within your heart.
“[May you know] his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead.”