Joy to the heart

Well today was a joy-filled day. I love Easter. It’s one of my favorite holidays.

Yes, I prefer celebrating it with a group of family and friends. Yes, I like to see the sun rise on this Sunday. Yes, gathering together to worship and sing is best and good for my soul. And yes, holiday traditions are special and meaningful.

But I realized this morning that the reason this day brings me joy has very little to do with those things. In fact, the joy shone even a bit more brightly on this strange Easter Sunday precisely because what I normally do on this day was changed or gone, so the day was stripped down to WHO and WHAT I celebrate. And it was more than enough to rejoice in!

The world is bleak. There’s no doubt about it. This Easter Day doesn’t deny suffering nor does it simply provide a weak positive message of optimism.

As my pastor in Lexington said this morning, “Don’t think happy thoughts. Believe that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead… That it actually happened. And it happened as a preview and a guarantee of the destiny of every single one who trusts in Him.”

That is hope for another life and so much joy and peace and identity for this life. That infuses joy into this day and into every other day as well.

We acknowledge the heartbreak of this life, the difficulty, the impending death… and hold all of that in tension with the longing for the way things are meant to be, for God’s design and creation to be as it should. And rejoice in Jesus who is alive!

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