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March 1, 2021

Written across the bottom of this Polaroid in my mother’s cursive reads “Easter 1978”. Clinched tightly in me and my brother’s hands, posing there in the front yard, are the glorious treasures of Easter morning. Marshmallow Peeps, Chocolate Bunnies, Cadbury Eggs, and what seemed like a never ending supply of jelly beans that filled the bottoms of our wicker baskets. If you look closely you can tell by the way dad is gripping my shoulder that my candy buzz was in full affect.

Then Easter Changed.

A few years later I transitioned my Easter focus from candy to clothing. At 13 years old, walking into church on Easter morning meant one thing – impress the girls in Sunday School! My poly-linen blend Spring Green sport coat from Gayfers was just what I needed to get the job done. Throw in one of my dad’s pastel ties, triple knotted so it didn’t hang too low, and I’d have new girlfriends lined up for months.

In those days Easter was like every other major holidays. It was a fun and special day to get gifts, eat amazing food, and gather with family.

Then Easter Changed.

I knew about sin because it came up when I was asked to read a verse in Sunday School and during the Pastor’s sermon. Plus, my mom taught me that Jesus had died for my sins. I even prayed the “Sinner’s Prayer” a few times to make sure I got into heaven. Yes, I knew about sin, I just didn’t think I had much of a sinning problem. I was a good kid. Good enough that is, and definitely not as bad as the real sinners I’d met in school or seen on MTV.

Thankfully, God decided to reveal to me my sinful heart, and He let me loose for a season to do as I please. I wallowed in sin like a pig in slop until my life was a mess. Then the day came when He placed in my heart a desire to be with Him more than the world. I was embarrassed to approach God, ashamed of my actions.

Then Easter Changed.

Hearing that Jesus died for your sins doesn’t matter much when you don’t think you’re a sinner. But today I know I’m a sinner. I struggle daily to obey God and not live for self. God’s revealed and proven time and time again that His ways are better, but the sinful side of me still disobeys. Yet, God’s Spirit leads me to His love and grace that was revealed fully on the cross and in the resurrection of Jesus on that original Easter weekend. Now, by the redeeming work of the Father, Son and Spirit, even though I am flawed by sin, I seek to walk out His ways and glorify His name. Living as God’s child clothed in the righteousness of Jesus who died and rose on my behalf.

This year, I invite you to see Easter for what it truly is and the good news it offers sinners like me and you.

“He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.” Psalm 103:10-13

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Jason and his wife DeAnne have 3 kids and have called the River Region home most of their lives. A former Family & Student Minister who, together with DeAnne, launched KeepSharing LLC to publish local family and faith resources across Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

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