“Remember that I’m expecting an Easter basket from you on Sunday, Paul. I’ve already got yours together.”
“That’s kids’ stuff,” the senior retorted.
“Not anymore. Easter is for everyone.” Carol was charmed that her grown children and their spouses surprised each other with colorful baskets on Easter morning.
“Do you have a basket I can use?” the senior wanted to know.
“Yup. Here it is.” Carol answered as she slapped a woven container on the table.
“Why, that looks like a salad bowl! I’ve got to have something with a handle or it isn’t an Easter basket.”
“Guess you get to go shopping.”
“Do you have any grass?”
“Out front. But the lawn’s not very green yet.”
When Paul arrived at the discount store, he felt as if he were in a rain forest surrounded by bright layers of Easter basket stuffers. The top canopy arched over him in pastel-colored balloons. Next came the lop-eared bunnies the size of wheel barrows nearly blocked the neon lights. Paul found like cellophane “grass” in every color in a crayon box except for real fescue, and baskets with handles as long as a garden shovel.
Some were already wrapped and ready. The stair-step display of themed baskets was as high as the bleachers at the Little League field. There seemed to be something for everyone: baskets for football fans, ones for boys wanting to be fire fighters; Star Wars stuff for the sci-fi crowd, and doll-filled baskets for girls. He had to elbow his way through chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks, malted milk eggs, jelly beans, and egg-coloring kits.
But in spite of the choices, Paul returned to the house empty-handed to say, “They didn’t have anything good.”
When it came to good stuff for Carol, Paul was absolutely right. For she was a treasure to him.
She should have something special he kept thinking.
But the real significance of Easter is even more of a treasure than Carol. No store can match the valuable gift that God offered over two thousand years ago. There is no expiration date. The offer stands today.
The true gift of Easter is free. It’s for all seasons. It’s for everyone. And it’s sweeter than anything on the Easter basket aisles.
Many already know the story and the reason: Jesus offers us the gift of forgiveness and a path to God and heaven. It’s because he laid down his life for us. His love and sacrifice covers our sins much more thoroughly than marshmallow crème and Easter goodies. But he didn’t just give up his life on earth. He came back to life and appeared to many before ascending to Heaven and his father, God.
These much-quoted verses spell out his promise in Jesus’ own words:
“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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
What if you want that Easter gift? What does it take?
- Admit to God you’re a sinner. Change your ways and focus. [Acts 3:19]
- Believe that Jesus is God’s son. Accept God’s gift of forgiveness. [John 3:16 quoted above; John 14:6]
- Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. [Romans 10:9-10; Romans 10:13]
For those who know Him, God isn’t finished yet.
Let God use and guide you and you’ll always be up for new experiences—never stagnant. He wishes us to grow through all the steps of our daily journey and the work he gives us to do. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” [Hebrews 12:1-3].
Paul is still pondering Carol’s Easter basket. But whether he does find a basket with a handle worthy of her, malted milk Whoppers, a chocolate bunny, or Jelly Bellies, the senior couple celebrates the best Easter gift of all: Jesus.
[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]