I am such a Scrooge when it comes to holidays, and Easter has been at the top of my bah-humbug list. Now before you call me a heathen and vow never to read another one of my blogs, hear me out. First of all, holidays in general are very depressing times for me because my family doesn’t really get together for holidays, especially Christian holidays. Every time a holiday rolls around, I always dread the question, “What are you doing for ___________?” When I give my usual shrug, people always start rambling on about how this family member is coming over and that relative is coming with the most delicious pie. What’s worse, because everyone else is busy with their families during holidays, I usually try not to bother them by calling or contacting them. I know I can’t ask them to come over because they’re with family, and most people understandably do not want other non-family members joining them in their family time, so I go home to my empty apartment and stick in a frozen dinner.
What makes Easter and Good Friday especially difficult is that not only do I feel like I don’t have a physical family to belong to, unlike every other day of the year, I feel like I don’t have a spiritual family either. Here’s what I mean. Most days, I am glad to be a part of the family of God, grafted in the moment I received Christ’s saving work on the cross. However, although I know intellectually that God loves me so much that he sent his Son to die in my place, that has a particularly hard time registering in my heart. Please don’t get me wrong, I am eternally grateful beyond my ability to express for Jesus’ death and resurrection. I know I would be lost forever if God had not done this out of his love for me. However, like I said before, I don’t have very many reference points when it comes to love. When I wrote “The Nice Version,” I realized what love was not, and what it was supposed to be, but I still was lacking in the experience department. My pastor and church family have given me a taste, but although I’ve had amazing appetizers, I was still hungry for the main course. However, I felt like the special needs student who gets weird looks when he asks for help. Everywhere I turn and everyone I talked to either didn’t understand my question or made me feel embarrassed to even have asked. After all, it’s Good Friday; how dare I question God’s love for me?
A few weeks ago, my pastor preached on the love passage in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8. He asked us to think about the person we love so much that it hurts. Of course I came up empty. I didn’t know what that kind of love was like, having never experienced it myself. Today though, as I sought God in prayer desperately pleading for him to help me understand, I felt God say, “I love you so much it hurts.” Suddenly, the pictures that flooded my heart were of a father’s face and a groom’s eyes lighting up upon seeing his beloved. The object of his delight and the love of his life has so captured his heart that he would do anything for her. Insert the cross and the resurrection. Now everything made sense. So although I may not be invited to anyone’s family table tomorrow, I know that at the wedding supper of the Lamb, I will be seated not as a guest invited out of charity, but as the beloved bride. Come to think of it, I think I just might have an idea for next year’s Easter cards!