Much of what I remember from Easter celebrations of years past come from the photo albums kept for me throughout the years.
There’s the picture of my mom and me, age 4, wearing matching blue and white striped dresses standing in front of a bare tree with colorful plastic Easter eggs hanging from its branches. Or the one where I am smelling a yellow daffodil while Grandma Jeanne watches over me. There’s another of me dressed like a bunny rabbit (this was at Halloween, but it makes me think of Easter). My aunt made that costume for me and she stands proudly in the background. There’s also a clipping from a newspaper with a picture of me holding a giant Easter basket I won during an Easter egg hunt. My brother was there, too, because he also won a prize.
What makes those pictures so special to me today are the memories they bring—not the smell of the egg dye or the taste of giant chocolate bunnies, but the memory of family. Every picture shows a significant person in my life with me:
• Mom, who teaches me to give back the blessings I have received.
• Grandma Jeanne, who reminds me of the power of faith.
• Aunt Jana, who teaches me how to enjoy life and be confident in who I am.
• Grandma Katie, who taught me how to love others like God loves us.
• Brother Jordan, who teaches me how to have a kind and gentle heart.
• Dad, who always reminds me of how valuable and treasured I am.
There are other family members who have had great influences on my life, but what makes these photos so valuable is that even though time and distance make it hard to see each other every holiday, I can still look back and remember all that I have learned from them in the past 25 years.
And during the Easter holiday, the most important thing I’ve learned from my family is the reason why we celebrate—because a couple thousand years ago, Jesus Christ, who is equally man and God, came to Earth to die for our sins. But the best part—he rose again. And because of that, we can all be free, and in freedom we have life, and in life we have family, and with family we can rejoice and celebrate.
I won’t see my family this Easter, but I will spend the day with my fiancé, Michael, and his family. We will begin taking our snapshots of Easter, memories of things we’ve experienced and lessons we’ve learned. We will remember all the ways He has been faithful to us. All the things I’ve learned about being a family, from my family, I will carry into our marriage. Together, Michael and I will weave our family experiences together to create a new family, one centered in the hope of the Easter message.
He is not here, but has risen. Remember how Jesus told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise” (Luke 24:6-7).
How will you bring the good things your family has taught you into your marriage?