Brilliant pink azaleas, shimmering golden forsythia, lovely tulips swaying in the breeze.
That’s what I saw as I looked around our neighborhood.
Nature was preparing for spring as Christians were preparing for Easter. Not even Covid-19 prevented the lovely spring flowers from bursting forth. The sound of lawnmowers, the smell of fresh grass, and the sight of flower beds being prepared for seasonal plantings, all signal Spring was on the way.
God promises us in His Word, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22 NKJV)” The trees showing off their lovely green buds as the Earth awakened from its winter rest displayed to me the reality of the coming season. These were fresh glimpses of the awakening of the Spring season.
This was to be a season for the body of Christ to prepare our hearts and to remember the resurrection of our blessed Savior. We looked forward for this opportunity to celebrate at our churches. Then we were informed that churches were to remain closed. We were ordered to stay at home, and we were prevented from going to work, from shopping except for groceries or pharmacy. All non-essential places were closed. Yes, this was a different kind of Easter. Rather than gathering, we celebrated with whoever was in our homes. Some of us watched services online or on the television since we were shut-in.
Did the world take notice that not even a pandemic could stop Easter Sunday from coming?
As Christians everywhere still expressed their joy–in different ways from their homes–the pandemic did nothing to stop us from raising our voices in praise on Resurrection Sunday. Maybe no one else heard, but our Heavenly Father did, and He received our worship.
Early on Easter morning, my husband and I placed our “Thank you, Jesus, sign” right in front of the lovely azalea bush at our home, and we declared “He is risen, He has risen indeed.” Later, we watched our church service online, and then we enjoyed lunch–just the two of us. This focused us on the unshakable truth that no matter what comes, Easter always does come.
I missed celebrating with our friends at church, and I missed listening to the soul-stirring music, seeing the flowers that would have decorated the altar, and the joy of participating in a large family gathering, sharing a meal, and having time to catch up on each others’ lives. But I still found purpose in this different kind of Easter celebration.
The Lord reminded me that for many people this stay-at-home Easter was their normal. They had no family or close friends to check on them so they were used to celebrating at home. Others considered it just another day–not knowing, or maybe not caring that Jesus died and was resurrected so they could have eternal life.
I asked several people how they celebrated Easter and their answers varied. Some said it was just another Sunday. Others watched service online. Some celebrated over lunch with nearby families. Another waited to celebrate with extended family members in a few months.
Lord, in 2020 were You testing us to reveal the condition of our hearts? Are we trusting You, as all the familiar routines are taken away? No church services, no work, except what we can do from home, no school, no fun shopping trips, no movies on the big screen. So many things that filled our days were no longer allowed.
In the quiet and privacy of our homes did we seek, listen to, and trust You? Are we now? When our routines changed overnight and became unpredictable, did we run to You, and spend more time with You? Perhaps we had been filling the time with activities rather than the pursuit of a healthy relationship with You. There is no need to focus on fear and anxiety because You still reign. You were with us in 2020 as You have always been. You promised never to leave us or forsake us, and You showed us the reality of that truth.
Father, my prayer is that because our focus was challenged in 2020, all of Your children will be changed for the better and we will draw closer to You. I pray for those who don’t believe. Lord, help them to turn to You, and choose to become Your sons and daughters by accepting the Easter story. Wrap Your arms of love around all of us and hold us close. I long to be more in love with You, eager to meet with You and to hear from You more each day. May the Holy Spirit prompt us to be obedient to You and to serve You with our whole hearts.
I don’t expect or desire things to be as they were–rather, I am confident this Easter will be much better than before. Thank You, Lord, for loving us enough to wake us up and to show us that You are in control while impressing on us the necessity to trust You and to keep our eyes focused on You. Father, You tell us in Your Word, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart”(Jeremiah 29:11-13 NKJV).
Lord, You promise “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 43:2 NKJV). Help us shelter in this, Your promise of protection and provision.
The Easter of 2020 gave me a renewed focus on the unchanging message that we celebrate. What about you, friend? Our heavenly Father loves us so much that He gave His precious Son for us. Father God accepted the Lord Jesus’ death on the cross as payment in full for our debt of sin. Because of this, He provided the only way for us to have fellowship with our Heavenly Father. But that wasn’t the end–it was the beginning. On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead, and in so doing, He provided eternal life for all who believe. In John 14:6 NKJV Jesus declares,”I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
He loves you, friend. Say yes to Jesus. Let this be the Easter you’ll remember, as the season YOUR NAME was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
During the pandemic of 2020, Easter wasn’t canceled. What was canceled was our sin. This is the Easter message that is always true! Jesus is a wonderful Savior! No one will ever love us more.
How has the 2020-22 pandemic changed the way you celebrate Easter Sunday?
Heavenly Father, I accept and renew my commitment to receive the gift of eternal life through Your Son Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Thank You for atoning for my sins because of this Easter story. I ask You to help me to live every day to honor You.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright 2020: Pandemic at Easter: Glenda Shouse: All Rights Reserved.