I know at Christmas time we sing "It's the most wonderful time of the year"...but I don't buy it. Don't get me wrong, I do love Christmas. Christmas is full of grace and giving from our God, but do you ever sense a blanket of sadness over it? There is just something about His lowly, humble, poor birth that makes my heart feel heavy. And then there's His life, though there certainly were times of happiness, what a burden. What an emptiness He must have felt to have left the splendor of His Father in heaven, seated high on His throne, flocked by angels and praise, only to come to a dark place and know the life He was going to live.
But then there is Easter. I know that you are thinking if ever there were days of sadness, the days surrounding Easter would certainly be the most sorrowful; but my heart is not heavy this time of year. It's not that I am unaware of the suffering, or skip over it quickly just to get to the empty tomb. I get it, I get it as much as my simple, earthly brain can wrap itself around the majesty of it all. It's just that I get the urge to stand up and clap, rather than sit in sadness. Do you know what I mean? There is something so wonderfully incomprehensible about Easter morning to me, that my heart wants to leap out of my chest. Can you imagine being Mary at the tomb and seeing that the body was gone? Can't you just see her standing outside His empty tomb "weeping" John 20:10? And can't you just hear her heart pounding with joy when Jesus calls her name, "Mary" and then she responds in exclamation now knowing that it is Him "Rabboni!" John 20:16? Can't you feel it? My sister's name is Mary and I have heard her say that this is one of her most favorite verses in scripture, because she can here Jesus saying her name. She can identifying with Jesus meeting her at a place of sadness and saying her name...I like that. And though I'm a little jealous, He really is saying my name too, as well as yours. He meets us right in the midst of our broken lives and calls out our name.
So as we approach this holy week, get excited! Pick up your baggage, your junk and all your messy sin and start walking up that hill to the cross. If you are like me, you might have a few suitcases full, it doesn't matter. Throw one over your shoulder, and tie a rope around the other ones so that you can drag the whole line of them up that hill of Calvary; and once you're there, have a seat. Actually, we might be better off if our faces were face down in the dirt...if you know what I mean. And then just rest, rest in what He has done for you on the cross, because Jesus said it himself "It is finished" John 19:30. Believe Him.
So in the words of Dr. Lockridge, "Do you know Him"? What a week to meet Him if you don't! And for those of you that do, I hope you have a chance in church on Easter morning when you can stand up and applaud, for He has accomplished mighty things for you!