Thursday, April 09, 2009

Another year and Easter

My apologies for a post that will be rather disjointed.

Birthdays don't bother me. I found out this morning that I have two gray chest hairs. My wife will chide me for getting old, but honestly, this is just part of life.

I'm trying to take stock of my life as I tend to do around my birthday. Yeah, I've got stresses, but I'm blessed. I have a mortgage on a house I'm not living in, but I have my family living with me. My life is pretty good right now and it's very easy to overlook that.

I have a daughter who is just amazing. Even though I have to discipline her, she makes me laugh more than she makes me angry. I love watching her learn. Watching her store the nuggets of information my wife and I pass on to her. I love watching her recall them and put them together in ways I sometimes marvel at. I love watching her play with other kids and seeing the compassion she has for others.

I have a son who seems to light up a room when he comes in. Even though I have to keep him out of everything, he fills me with pride as I watch him grow up. I love seeing his curiosity. I love watching him look at something, knowing he's working out how it works in his head. I love watching him run around like a little boy. I love watching him take an interest in what I'm doing, if nothing else than to have something with buttons to push.

Truth is, both paragraphs above could apply equally to both kids. They're alike in so many ways, yet profoundly different.

I have a wife that I simply cannot describe. Literally my other half. It is my joy to wake up next to her every morning. She is my great passion in life. I love coming home to her after work. I love her mind and the way it works. She may snore, but I'd rather try to sleep with her snoring than sleep alone. English lacks the vocabulary to express what she means to me.

I have so many other blessings that I couldn't catalog them all if I wanted to. I have a good paying job in the midst of an economic recession. I have a great place to live in one of the most picturesque areas I've ever been to. I have a new grill from Samsung (inside joke).

Most importantly though, I have salvation. My birthday usually falls near the Christian holiday of Easter. Easter has always been a curious holiday to me. Not curious in that I doubt any of the events surrounding Easter, but rather why it seems like a more perfunctory holiday. Christmas is obviously the big holiday on the Christian calendar. We certainly put a lot more effort into Christmas. Yet, Easter gets, depending on your family's traditions, a single meal, some plastic grass, a bunny that clucks like a chicken, and some candy. Sure Christians go to church, but they do that on Christmas too. Sure there is a big musical production for Easter, but more often than not, there is one for Christmas too.

Don't get me wrong. From a strictly religious perspective, I'm fully aware that Christmas celebrates a crucial event for Christians. However, Easter also celebrates at least and equally crucial event. Christ's birth is important and supernatural. Yet, without the atoning sacrifice made on Good Friday and the subsequent resurrection on Easter, Christmas is relatively devoid of merit. Conversely, without the supernatural birth and the gift that is Christ, Easter is not possible. It is this circular line of reasoning that leaves me with the question, why do Christians put significantly more effort into Christmas than they do Easter?

I could be cynical and quote Lewis Black, "its because our economy is tied to Santa's" butt. I could be flippant and say that since Easter occurs in the spring there is more to do at Easter time than in the dead of Winter like Christmas. The truth is, I just don't know. Maybe the answer is that Easter and Christmas are equally important, but we're far more comfortable with a cuddly little newborn than we are with our Savior, bruised, bloodied, and mutilated knowing we put Him there. Perhaps it is the promise of salvation reflected in Christmas that makes it so much more attractive than the reality of our need for salvation and the deeds required to make that salvation possible that are reflected in Easter. Again, I don't know. This is just a conundrum that plagues me this time of year.

All in all, I'm blessed. 2008 wasn't a good year for me, but 2009 is shaping up to be a much better year.

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