Which is better: Christmas presents or Easter presents?
Sometimes, in my house, the “Easter Bunny” gets rather generous (?) in what is put into baskets. In an effort to de-emphasis candy, things like jump ropes, jacks, chalk, baseballs, bats, bubbles, pool toys, and so on, appear in the baskets. As in OVERFLOW! Which made one of the kids say, “This is like Christmas!”
Which made me wonder; which is better? Christmas or Easter presents? Younger kids might look at you funny if you were silly enough to ask something so obvious. Christmas presents are way better! Kids get excited about a new bike, a new game and even new clothes (except socks or underwear). In the church, kids know that baby Jesus is a gift. What could be more perfect for kids than the Baby in a manger?”
Don’t get me wrong. Easter presents are great, too! And the best part of Easter for most kids is often one word – candy! But…kids know that toys last – at least a while. Candy, much as we love it, is gone fast.
Some of this comes from the fact that kids assume life. Ever since they were alive, they’ve been – alive! It’s just true, it’s just there, no need to think about it or miss being alive. But, of course, one day everyone discovers the shadow that death throws over all of life. And, eventually, toys, games and clothes stop being enough. That’s when you first start to see the power of Easter presents. The world changed when baby Jesus came into it. His arrival was praised, hated and attacked. And for all of His adorableness, baby Jesus was mostly a promise.
Easter Jesus is a man. Somehow, He’s also God. And He’s a sacrifice. Sometimes, He’s a challenge for small kids to relate to.
Easter Jesus suffered more than baby Jesus. How many kids know how to explain suffering?
He made payment for our deadly sins. How many kids know the value of a dollar, let alone payment for sin and death?
But kids assume life.
Until they grow up.
Then they start to see the Jesus that knew about our death, the death that you can’t hide from. Jesus cried about people who suffer. He got angry about those who want to keep you out of God’s family. And then, He gave you the gifts that you don’t mostly want to touch. His beatings. His thorns and blood and sacrifice. Full payment for sin and death.
And finally, you see the miracle present: You have new life! Now, you can be a kid again in the greatest possible way. You can assume life again! Jesus rose from the dead, showing His victory, giving you His victory, building God’s family of life ever since.
Kids might not always know it, but Easter gives the present of life. It gives the present of family forever. It gives the present of hope. It delivers all the promises that were given when baby Jesus was born. I love Christmas presents! But the presents Jesus gives through Easter…they make all of God’s presents to us possible. They make your life today a present worth living. Alleluia to our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sheraden, 3102 Sherwood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15204 412-331-0600