Joy Dawned Again on Easter Day (and Again and Again for 49 Days After)
“After his suffering, [Jesus] presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3
Every year my kids end up with huge piles of candy. They nobly contend for goodies in our congregational Easter egg hunt. Grandma always sends Peeps- those ooey-gooey marshmallow bunnies coated in neon yellow granulated sugar. Grandpa is usually good about sending the kids a chocolate bunny. Of course Amy and I have to keep up with the proliferation of junk food. What kind of parents wouldwebeifwedidn’tslipsomethingsweetintotheirEasterbaskets? Theygetsomuchcandyfor Easter it would take them over a month to eat it all.
In the past I have done my best to limit the kid’s candy intake by consuming some of the goodies myself. I am especially helpful at getting rid of Peeps. There must be something addictive in those radioactive rascally rabbits! I done my best to stop the candy train before it reaches the month of May. I even pat myself on the belly and congratulate myself for being such a good parent. After all, I am taking a candy bullet for my kids. Why should children consume chocolate eggs a month after Easter?
But hold on! Don’t pull those pastel decorations quite yet. Easter isn’t over after April 8th. Easter is more than a one day celebration. The Season of Easter lasts a whopping fifty days! That leaves the kids plenty of time to polish off their candy stashes. When Easter Sunday has come and gone I am prepared to get rid of bunnies by any means necessary. But the festivities last for another 49 days.
It’s funny, but everyone knows that Lent lasts for forty days. Forty days with no chocolate. Forty days with no television. Forty days with no red meat. But who remembers the fifty days of Easter? Fifty days with no fasting. Fifty days with no mourning. Fifty days of celebration of the new life in Jesus Christ. It’s odd that Christians remember the season of sorrow and forget the season of joy. Augustine put it this way, “These days after the Lord’s resurrection form a period, not of labor, but of peace and joy.”
Just imagine fifty days of the peace and joy we are promised on Easter Sunday. Just imagine fifty days of “JoyDawnedAgainonEasterDay!”stuckinyourhead. Justimaginefriendsspendingthenextfiftydays asking you why you are in such a good mood, and telling them about the love you found in Jesus. Just imagine leaving your kids candy bags alone so they can enjoy the Easter celebration for fifty days. Buy your own candy this year. Keep the celebration going all season long.
(PDF version here) Star April 2012 Joy Dawned Again on Easter Day