Just after five, I woke. It was Easter morning, though I had not yet registered the fact. The sound of little doggy toenails clicked, clicked, clicked across my hardwood bedroom floor. I bolted out of bed, pulled on my socks and jetted after the small hairy beast. I knew exactly what he wanted. It was potty time. It was also dark outside. No city lights, no encumbering… close up neighbors, for I live in the country. The sun was just waking, hardly yet revealing itself, the sky barely glowed. A soft lit radiance made a reverent canopy high above my head. My small black poodle smudged into the darkness before me, then completely disappeared, though I knew — he was still there, very close, very near, just as God, with me.
Rolling hills surrounded me like a gentle blanket snug about my shoulders. I felt a calm sweet tender peace. My dog was dissolved into a hushed muse of shadow, the kitty that had come and taken up residence at our place and deposited three baby kittens was no where to be seen. The six fuzzy baby chicks my husband had recently purchased, was far from my thoughts. The neighboring roosters… even they were quiet this morning. Perhaps still bedded in their mounds of straw, sleeping. There was no sound of honking donkeys nor distant dogs barking. There was no sign of life. All was quiet. Even my husband and son were nestled in their beds… The tranquility was beautiful. Though much of the world was tormented with fear, I was not, not at this moment. God had His loving arms about me, I was swallowed in the abundance of His love. Yesterday’s taunting, yesterday’s worry was behind me and well out of mind. It was Easter, my thoughts reminded me. Easter morning. And just like that, I was taken back to long-ago yesteryear.
I was a young girl again, a girl still in Elementary school. It was another early…very early, Easter morning. I would grumble. I never wanted to get up…have to be up that early in the morning. Long threads of tangled messed up hair flopped over my shoulders and brushed into my eyes. I buckled my knees and whined. I wanted to be back in bed—that was, until I remembered my brand-new dress and shoes. Every year Grandmother made us a pretty new dress and Mother purchased us shoes to wear Easter morning. The shoes usually were a pair of sandals—white sandals. It was Spring, the first dawning of white for the year. In those days we did not wear white before Easter. No pretty bright clothing, white dress or footwear, you did not wear them before the glorious celebrated day. So it was a thrill, the new clothes… as wonderful as the lovely Easter baskets Mother had made and stuffed with amazing goodies…filled with chocolate bunnies, marshmallow sugared chicks and other candy, pretty little figurines, funny little toys, bright colored hard boiled eggs, and whatever else she purchased for us. Dressed in my pretty new dress and shoes, I would prance around proud as could be.
It was in those long-ago days we attended one of the larger churches in upstate South Carolina. I remember more than one early Easter morning, my family of four, making our way up the mountain roading, winding our way to the Blue Ridge Park. It was one of the gathering places at the park, a handful of the church came together at 6a.m. for the sunrise service. Mother, sister and I nestled close to Daddy. It was nippy out in the dawn-breaking, mountain air. The cold nibbled us.
“Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph for His foes,” We, the congregation, belted into the early morning sunrise. Christ was risen, we rejoiced. He was alive, and we His people celebrated because He was. Suddenly, I was glad we had gotten up early and come to the beautiful service.
Birds chirped, joining the serenade. A soft breeze teased and brushed curls at the side of my face. All was well in the world. I took in a deep breath, my lips moved, mouthing the words, “He Arose.” Slowly, my thoughts drew back to the present. I moved aside to let my dog back into the house with me. I piddled around in the room for a while, gradually the outdoors grew brighter and brighter. I moved to the kitchen, made my coffee, still, pondering the past. Gazing out the window, I stared out at the continuing distance. Thick white clouds loomed the silent hills before me. “He arose,” I sang. “He arose.”
For a time, I could forget the earthshaking fear that crippled the world—the pandemic that had brought our entire being into a screeching halt. Christ arose! Our Lord was risen… and that was all that mattered. This awesome Savior—the creator of the universe, took on Himself the sin, the pain, the suffering… the diseases, of the entire world and nailed them ALL to a tree. He loved you and me that much—so much, that He would die that excruciating death so that we might live. And yes, right then and there, in this horrifying place we all find ourselves in, that indeed was all that mattered. For in Him – in Christ alone, is our salvation, our hope…our eternal future.