You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
That I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!
I got into a discussion with a group of people once over what my favourite Christian holiday is, Christmas or Easter. I was one of the few who said Easter. Someone said they liked Christmas, because if Jesus was never born he never could have paid the debt of dying for redemption. But I beg to submit that without Easter, Christmas would have been a failed enterprise - just another birthday in billions (which according to recent evidence was probably on June 17th exactly 2006 years ago.)
I say all this to preface my wish to celebrate Easter more fully this year - and by that I mean, to celebrate it in opposites. I want to celebrate Easter this year as a season of joy, not gravity. Today is Ash Wednesday, a day of mourning observed by many areas of the Church at large, the first day of Lent. It's supposed to be a season of grief, but in my heart Lent it is a season of anticipation. I feel a stronger sense of joy on my way to Easter than any other season. It is the fulfillment of Isaiah, the most beautiful book of prophecy. The book that promises beauty for ashes, joy for mourning. Mercy instead of justice. Healing instead of sickness. Hope. Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
The beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair.
I am so humbled by the thought of Easter. I plan to celebrate it with extreme joy this year. This is not to say that I do not see the gravity in it, but I want to refocus. When I was troubled with depression and had issues with the deep, dark place inside myself, I enjoyed the darkness that people attributed to Easter, the darkness of death, but that is not the focus of Easter. Victory is the true meaning of Easter. Victory over the darkness.
The enemy has been defeated
Death couldn't hold You down
I'm going to lift my voice in victory
I'm going to shout your praises loud