There were some nice little Easter activities going on today here in Crestline, so on my way back from Arrowhead, with my camera on my shoulder, I parked my car near Lake Gregory where I especially wanted to see the rubber ducky races.
It was empty.
Oh, there were people there, alright, hot dog vendors had set up, colorful balloons were bulging, plastic eggs were bountiful, flavored ice was shaved, popcorn was caramelized, and as planned, the pink plastic ducks and blue ones and yellow ones raced down the water slide, their significant numbers carefully applied to their little bellies or stuck to their backsides.
But it was empty.
It didn’t go quite as planned, and many people who had sponsored a duck had not arrived from the other activities before the duckies did their watery run. A small boy cried because he hadn’t seen his duck race, and his dad consoled him, and patted him on the back.
“So sorry, no one is here that has a winning number,” the lady with the megaphone said to the faltering group who yet watched and with whom I stood.
Rabbit had climbed on board the boat whose workers now scooped up the duck persons, and when he saw I had my camera trained on him, he waved.
Abandoned all about me now were plastic eggs. By the exit gate was a cardboard box with a sign: Recycle your eggs here, and into the box by the dozen were thrown the Easter Eggs.
It was empty.
I have no problem with secular Easter activities; indeed I’ve beautiful ceramic eggs setting about my house now, I’ve eaten my share of Easter candy, and when I go to visit Rebecca tomorrow I will take her a charming dish filled with jelly beans, wrapped and tied in a beautiful way. I have a new pink jacket I will wear to the Easter service we will attend in the morning.
I spoke to a little boy, though, and asked: “What is Easter? Do you know? Why do we have Easter?”
He dropped his eyes and stammered about a bit, realizing he should know. “Uh, is it when Jesus was born? Uh…I’m not quite sure.”
Especially striking to me this afternoon was the consideration of the difference between the reality of Easter coupled with its true significance, and those other cute trappings which ultimately are empty and un-fulfilling. Stay with me and consider the words of Matthew as he describes the Easter morning scene:
In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
And for fear of him, the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, say, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.”
I pray that all of us who have dabbled in the secular side of Easter will also fully immerse ourselves in the richness and truth of the resurrection. May we understand that it is the empty tomb that has filled our lives with joy, with thankfulness, and with the expectation that one day we will live in Heaven with Jesus!