He Is Risen! He Is Risen, INDEED!!
As followers of Christ, that's our greeting for Easter. I didn't actually learn that until a couple of decades ago but that doesn't stop me from using it liberally now. How about you?
Here's my favorite picture from the day -
Are those not some of the most adorable grandbabies you ever saw?! (Yes, that was indeed a rhetorical question.)
The back row is L to R: Noah Smith 8, Abby Schreck 9, Spencer Schreck 11, Andrew Smith 2 and Madi Smith 5. You can't see her but Meagan is actually hiding and holding up Andrew because he had had enough of picture taking by the time we did this one.
The front row L to R: Zach Schreck 5, Grayson Smith 3, Parker McGhee 3 and Ava Schreck 4. Spencer just had his birthday in February but seven summer birthdays are on the horizon. What a Crew!!
The weeks leading up to Easter 2022 were (for our family) full of joy, sickness, unexpected emergencies and even a couple of surgeries. Needless to say, my spring decorations appeared in a very limited form two days before our Easter dinner.
Some of you readers will remember that I've always declared April to be my favorite month of the year. Christmas is my favorite season and Easter is my favorite holiday. (Do you get the idea that I just enjoy looking for opportunities to celebrate?)
But this was the first Easter of the past 37 that Frank and I haven't enjoyed a private sunrise service with our girls. Yes, it was a bit sad for me. He and I began this tradition when Kristin was a toddler and Joy was only eight months old. Meagan had not yet made her appearance.
Our plan was simply to make the day about more than just new dresses, Easter baskets and egg hunts. We wanted to do something that brought the day alive for our girls.
We figured reading the Bible account of the women going to the tomb at dawn while experiencing their own sunrise would do just that. After the reading, we sang resurrection songs with croaky morning voices and prayed together thanking God for the gift of salvation. Then it was on to breakfast which always included orange cinnamon rolls.
We've morphed and adapted our tradition many times through the years. But last year, the girls talked with me afterward explaining that it was just too much for them to get their children up and out the door for us to share a sunrise service together anymore.
It wasn't easy but it was something I needed to understand in order to keep our relationship strong.
So, I chose to be okay.
Frank is a good husband who read the timeless story with just he and I on the back porch Easter morning. He even attempted a song but I couldn't sing and cry at the same time. Vocal chords are funny that way.
Here's the picture of us later in the morning. Isn't he handsome? (Again, rhetorical.)
I'm smiling genuinely because once we arrived at church (around 6:30 and 7:00) we were immediately reminded how fortunate we are. John and his team had been working since 5:30. Our auditorium wouldn't hold everyone for Easter so we were meeting under a tent. Lots of fun for those who arrived just before service but LOTS of work for our tech team.
And arrive they did!
We offered breakfast for the early birds and a free family photo. (Scarlette Photography. Jamie does amazing work. Did you notice that all those grandbaby eyes were OPEN?!)
As the people gathered, the joy and energy were electric. Everyone was so thankful to be together. There was laughter, conversation, hugs and handshakes all around.
The worship was absolutely powerful and Frank did a wonderful job recounting once again the most important story in all of history: the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ.
There was a holy hush on the crowd when he asked this pointed question, "Now, what will you do with the gift that has been provided for you?" No need to pound the pulpit or coerce anyone. He spoke it tenderly as a father would to his children. We all felt the weight of such a question and decision.
We're sure many were challenged to follow Christ.
After the service, we got our pictures with the grands and each family did their own individual shot. There was so much happening, we never managed to get one all together but you'll enjoy these, I'm sure.
In order, The McGhees. Kristin, Cody, Parker and Olivia who will make her appearance this July.
Next would be the Schrecks. Spencer, Zach, John, Joy, Ava and Abby. (Abby had eye surgery three weeks ago and is still recovering; although, the surgeon said it went well.)
Finally, the Smiths. Madi, Nathan, Grayson, Andrew, Meagan and Noah. (They literally drove back to FL on Saturday after being in NC for the funeral of his precious Grandma Smith.)
Who could be anything but joyful after scanning these beautiful smiles? We opted for an Easter dinner get together this year and when it started raining we chose to hide the Easter eggs in the house. Man oh man, was that search ever LOUD! We ended with a time of sharing the timeless story once more in a way the children could help explain and prayed together thanking Jesus for his sacrifice.
Yes, I ended the day exhausted but content.
Just in case you didn't smile yet, here's one more picture:
Please look closely at Frank's feet. If you're reading in California, his feet look perfectly normal. But his mother in NC is yelling, "Did that boy not wear socks on Easter Sunday?!!" She is shaking her head with embarrassment, I assure you.
Actually, you can tell I'm laughing because he did forget his socks. (The men all came to church in work clothes then changed.) After our slotted photo time, I made a mad dash to the nearest CVS pharmacy and spent too much money on the last pack of dress socks they had available. Certainly glad Jamie captured this for posterity.
I opened this post with the question, "Is it still Easter?"
I'm well aware that many of you marked your Easter with massive changes from years gone by. All I had to deal with was a change of tradition. But you may have lost a family member during the past year. Others have a friend they've lost contact with or a child who won't return their calls.
My heart aches for you!
For you, the question is literal. Your heart cries out, "Is the resurrection of Christ still applicable? Does God even care about my pain today?"
And for you, my friend, there is a literal answer - YES!
I know from personal experience that the Bible writer was accurate when he told us that Jesus is very near the broken-hearted. Your pain, caused by this broken world we live in, is the very reason He gave His life. He died to restore relationship to God the Father for you and I. That relationship is the only perfect one and the only one that provides HOPE in every moment of question.
Is it still Easter?
Because he lives, I hope your answer is the same as mine, Yes! Every day I live knowing His love is Easter.