April 13, 2012

Easter (on an) Island

"Maybe if I stay totally still..."
His first Easter goodies :)

What's Easter in Hawaii without a trip to the beach?

The older I get, the more I realize that holidays are whatever you make of them. I distinctly remember being in my dorm room my freshman year at TCU around Christmastime and realizing that unless I decorated, it would be easy to forget it was the most wonderful time of the year! That's a testament to my fabulous parents, who always made each holiday a fun and special occasion in our house growing up. Now the torch has been passed, and it's our turn to make holidays special for our little one.

While my crafting was at an all-time high before Bryson was born (thanks to Pinterest, my crafty sister-in-law Courtney, and my nesting motivation), I went all out for my homemade Halloween decor. Made a little wreath for Thanksgiving, let Target do the heavy lifting for Christmas, a half-hearted (get it?!) effort for Valentine's, and BAM. Easter was upon us! Which wreath would be next?

Well, our Easter decorations ended up consisting of the stuffed bunny I'd gotten last year as part of an American Greetings promo at the NEX, a blue Easter egg a Gymboree friend gave to us, and the cute cut-outs that arrived via FedEx sent from our Texas family. No homemade wreath this year.

And I'm okay with that. Because just like Christmas isn't all about Santa and reindeer (while I dearly love and embrace St. Nick and his talented sleigh team), there's more to Easter than the Easter  Bunny and his candy-filled eggs. Certain special holidays are about more than fun traditions and fabulous decorations. And just as my parents taught me, I want to teach my son.

What we really celebrate at Easter is the crazy and incomprehensible lesson we learn in John 3:16. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

What?!

While I grew up going to church, praying before meals, singing worship songs, and participating in enriching and eye-opening mission trips...I have to admit that I still feel like a baby when it comes to my faith. I don't know all the right verses (or many verses at all, for that matter!), I don't go to church every Sunday, and I don't even remember to pray every day. I'm sometimes lazy and intimidated, always flawed. And that's the point. Jesus didn't die for the best of us. He died for all of us. When I take the time to really try and absorb that, it blows my mind.

I'll never forget the Sunday School lesson that our dear family friend Paul shared with us back in high school. He said that while he loved us and would sacrifice his life for us if it came down to it, he couldn't bring himself to sacrifice his son's life for us. That's what God did.

Ten years later, I still remember that illustration. Ten years later, I have a son of my own, and that illustration has become even more heartbreakingly real. There's nothing worse than hearing my little one cry out when he's in pain. How God made this sacrifice, how Jesus endured such unimaginable pain....I'm lost. I literally can't comprehend the love it took.

2012 Easter sunrise over Pearl Harbor
While at the sunrise service at the USS Missouri on Easter Sunday, the chaplain shared an anecdote about a game he plays with his grandson. He asks him how much he loves his grandpa.

"This much?", holding out his thumb and index finger.

"Nooo..."

"This much?", holding out his hands.

"Nooo...THIS MUCH!" And he held his arms out as far as they would stretch.

An inaudible mumble came from one of the first few rows, and those in the immediate area broke out in a roar of laughter. He explained to those of us in the back that a kiddo up front had quickly chimed in, "He loves you MORE!" He'd been upstaged, and it was awesome. I can only pray that one day, Bryson will "get it" like that little one does.

I could say a lot more about my thoughts, my questions, my wonders on Christ and what he means to me, and maybe I will down the road. For now, though, I just wanted to mark Bryson's first Easter by acknowledging that while I may not understand all the theology and doctrines and history behind His life, I absolutely believe He died on the cross for us. I absolutely believe I am undeserving and imperfect and fall so short of what I should be, but I absolutely believe I am forgiven, and that faith is largely about the journey, not just the destination.

While I consider myself a baby in my faith, my baby really is a baby. Let's be honest. He will not remember his first Easter beyond the stories we tell him. So here's to my baby's first Easter. A meet-and-greet with the Bunny himself, a sunrise service, a brief stint at the beach, some yummy food and egg-dying entertainment, and a whole lot of love.

Love.  

Maybe I can incorporate that theme into my wreath next year.




P.S.  This post is not related to my business, which is about helping bright entrepreneurs attract their dream clients, one brilliant message at a time. HOWEV - if you like my writing and want help with your own, sign up for free tips at www.nikkielledgebrown.com!

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