What If There Were No Easter?
What if there were no Easter? What would the world be like without the Spring? An eternal winter, a frozen landscape. Not the magical, musical snowman, ice-palace-and-fabulous-wardrobe-change Frozen wonderland you might be picturing. No. The absence of spring would really mean the absence of life, renewal and growth on Earth. Death would be the end of our existence. There would be nothing but degradation. An endless entropy with no hope of renewal.
What If Christ Hadn’t Suffered?
What if Christ hadn’t suffered? Without Christ’s suffering, we would have no way to escape our sins. Remorse would have no end. Guilt could never be forgotten. Harsh words could never be amended, mercy never extended, progress never made. We, none of us, would ever really have a chance.
What If Christ Didn’t Atone For Us?
What if Christ didn’t atone for us? Can you remember a time when your heart was weighed down with the horrors of the world: Abuse, disease, war, cruelty, maliciousness, poverty, hate? Without Christ’s atonement, these tendencies would reign supreme. Innocence would have no hope for better times to come.
The innate spiritual part of us seems to reject the implication of life without a Savior. We recoil from reality too awful to face. When I am confronted with dark views that send my mind spinning, shrinking away from problems too big for me to solve, the thought of Jesus Christ is a beacon to my soul. As soon as I catch hold of this thought, and remember Him, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. My relief is as deep and poignant as was my pain. Because through Him, every wrong will be made right again. Sometimes there is no satisfactory answer in this life. For those moments especially, Christ is the answer.
He Offers the Gifts of Easter Freely.
Because He rose from the tomb, we can overcome death. Perhaps the most beloved scripture in holy writ proclaims, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Because He suffered, we can repent from sin. In the words of Isaiah, “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”(Isaiah 53:5).
Because He atoned for us, every wrong can be made right. Christ (and Isaiah) said, “The Spirit of the Lord … hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; … to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,… to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion … beauty for ashes.” (Isa. 61:1, 3)
“Today we celebrate the gift of victory over every fall we have ever experienced, every sorrow we have ever known, every discouragement we have ever had, every fear we have ever faced—to say nothing of our resurrection from death and forgiveness for our sins. That victory is available to us because of events that transpired on a weekend precisely like this nearly two millennia ago in Jerusalem.” (Jeffery Holland, “Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet.”)
We Can Choose.
The most amazing part is that sometimes we choose to live without Christ. As horrible as a world without Easter would be, sometimes we live in that world, a devastation of our own making. When we do not accept Christ, it is as if there was no Easter. Knowing that many would reject Him, the scriptures are full of Christ’s imploring invitations:
He beckons, “Come unto me…and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-30) He offers, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10)
The light in our lives is directly proportional to our willingness to draw near to Christ. In the words of Thomas S. Monson, “Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.” We can live in the darkness of a world without Easter, or we can accept Him, remember Him and honor Him as our Savior.
Springtime Is an Invitation to All.
God’s invitations and reminders are all around us, especially at this glorious springtime season of the year. He calls to us through the beauties of nature, the magnificence of the self-renewing Earth, the reminders of His majesty. My heart echoes Isaiah’s words:
“Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted… Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me…Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 4:13-16, Isaiah 1:18)
The reality of the atonement of Jesus Christ is the most joyful message ever given. Better than little girls in pastel floral dresses, white gloves and broad-brimmed hats (although these are dear to my heart). Better than a bunny who delivers free candy eggs. Better than any fairy-tale. I hope we each get the chance this spring season to reflect on the joys that last and the messages of greatest worth: Easter being the champion among these.