I love Easter. I love Easter egg hunts, Easter baskets, and more specifically, the "stuff" that comes inside the eggs and baskets. Now that I'm all grown up, I don't get my own Easter basket anymore. Instead, I have the thrill of packing 4 baskets full of the goodies that I loved as a child for my own children. And no Easter basket is complete without jellybeans and Peeps. Can I just say I love Peeps? I was at Target last night, and was almost offended at the selection of Peeps I saw. I'm a traditionalist as far as Peeps go, and yellow chicks and pink bunnies are the only basket-worthy colors. I'll make an allowance for blue bunnies for my boys, but honestly, who ever heard of red and green chicks?! It makes me wonder if the Peeps factory had an overabundance of sugar left over from Christmas and said, "Aww, who's gonna care if we make red and green chicks for Easter, heck, maybe we'll even start a new fad". Eww, gross! Did you know there's an art to eating Peeps? Some people like to open the package and let them sit a few days before eating; this makes them a little more chewy. I like to eat them first thing when I get home from the store, head first, the whole package in one sitting. To me, they are kinda like hot Krispy Kreme donuts- so good and fluffy that you don't even realize you just ate a whole boxful. (Don't worry, I'm pretty sure I've never eaten that many donuts at one time - I've always had to share with someone else. And it's probably been since 2002 since I've lived close enough to a Krispy Kreme to get a hot one.) And if you want to really have some fun with your Peeps, you can stick one in the microwave for 30 seconds. Just make sure you watch it the whole time; it's a real hoot to see it blow up to a ginormous size, and you also want to make sure it doesn't catch on fire. After it cools down, it's kinda crunchy, almost like wet cotton candy, except it's not wet.
But what I really love about Easter starts on Friday. Good Friday. Except on the original Good Friday, it didn't seem so good. That was the day Jesus was nailed to a cross. The day that started out sunshiny and bright but ended with darkness, earthquakes, and thunderings. The day the huge heavy ceiling-to-floor curtain separating the holy place from the people in the temple was split in half. The day Jesus took all of humanity's sin on his own sinless back. And if you're a human, that includes you. The day God proved His love to you by giving up His life as a sacrifice to pay the price for your imperfectness. And mine. That first Good Friday night, Jesus' body was put in a tomb. A huge stone was rolled in front of the tomb's opening, sealed, and guards were placed there. That's because Jesus had predicted that He would rise from the dead. But guess what happened on Easter, early in the morning? Jesus did come back to life! He won over sin and death! And He offers His victory over sin and death to all of us. This is why I love Jesus. Because He loved me first. With all His heart. "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation" (Romans 10:9 &10).