What does Easter mean to me?
At Christmas we celebrate the earthly arrival of God in the form of a human baby boy, wondering why He would want to leave the indescribable comforts, pleasures, and glories of Heaven to personally experience life as a newborn baby, childhood, the teen years, and a misunderstood adult life -- all during an era before the invention of farm machinery, central air conditioning, Sleep Number mattresses, television, and air travel.
Why did He put up with relatives and childhood friends who did not understand His mission but wanted to throw Him off a cliff because of His words spoken in a synagogue?
Why did He choose rough fishermen and cheating tax collectors to be His friends and allow women of ill repute to honor Him?
Why did He make such a concerted effort to reach as many people as possible with His teachings, touching the diseased and demon-possessed with His own hands to set them free?
Why did He put up with the accusations and insinuations of the religious leaders and submit to betrayal by one of His own?
And most curious of all, why did Jesus Christ not call down the angelic armies of heaven when He was horrifically tortured and crucified in the place of a murderer?
For reasons we will never completely fathom, He loves us and this was the only way a just God could redeem us back to Himself. Somebody had to pay for our sins.
He did that for me, and for you, for everybody.
Thankfully, that was not the end of the story.
On the third day after His death and burial, Jesus Christ rose from the dead, as only God could do. His resurrection completed His earthly mission. New life came out of death.
For those who believe this story, admit to God their sins and turn away from doing them, eternal life follows the earthly existence.
I was blessed to hear and believe this story at a very young age. It is easy for me to almost gloss over this special time of year because I have hardly known anything different. But I dare not do that -- not because I fear losing my salvation, but because humility before God pleases Him and He has done the most wonderful thing for me.
He has set me free from the punishment for my sins and made me one of His children forever.
This is what Easter means to me.