Like any good American, I celebrate the commercialized Easter with gusto. With a toddler in the house, it’s almost impossible to resist the urge to organize egg hunts, fill Easter baskets, decorate eggs, and dress my offspring in the—perfect—Easter—outfit. Growing up, I remember Easter mornings we’d rush eagerly downstairs, finding our baskets packed to the brim with treats and presents. As I look for gifts and egg fillers for my little man, I can’t help but feel nostalgic for my childhood Easters.
Then I saw all the religious posts on Facebook, reminding me of the seriousness of Easter and killing my holiday buzz—thanks folks. They reminded me that I’d become distracted from Easter’s true purpose—remembering Christ. The baskets and egg hunts have nothing to do with the real Easter, they chastised me. And as I clicked on the videos of His Atonement, crucifixion and Resurrection, I couldn’t help but feel like all my Easter gifts paled in comparison to His.
So, with my irreligious holiday exuberance tapered, I started to think about my Easter basket (my figurative one, of course—no one makes an Easter basket for moms). What gift would I really like to find in my basket on Easter morning? Once I gave it serious thought, I quickly found my answer—it was Christ. I want Christ’s compassion and love in my Easter basket this Sunday.
I thought about His immense capacity to love and to forgive. The ability to forgive and to love is hard for me, in part because I had a difficult childhood. In fact, it’s very hard for me to forgive the people who hurt me as a child. Their thoughtless, cruel actions have left scars; these scars pain me and affect me to this day. Is it even possible for me to put forgiveness for these people in my basket?
But see, the wonderful thing about a holiday that focuses on Christ, is you get to think about Christ, and what He would do. And I clearly remember that He forgave. He forgave over and over again. Even when he was being tortured and crucified, He asked his Father to forgive the same people who were committing these horrible acts. I haven’t undergone even a fraction of the pain the Savior suffered. What excuse do I have to withhold my forgiveness?
This thought inspired me; and, as I reflected on my past, I was surprised to realize that I’ve already forgiven so much of what happened to me. This doesn’t mean my past doesn’t still affect my life today. One uplifting experience can’t heal a lifetime of resentment. But even though it will take time to achieve full forgiveness, this Easter holiday, I’m hopeful. If I try to fill my basket with forgiveness, perhaps, just perhaps, Christ can help me actually feel it in my heart.