Easter is, at least for faithful Christians, the most important, most joyous Sunday of the year.
You've heard that story from me before. Often, I've also talked about how spring, at least in the northern hemisphere, is a time of beginnings.
Spring is the time for plants to rise, for lambs to gambol in the field (always wanted to use gambol in a column), for the umpire to yell, "play ball!" It is a time for optimism.
That wasn't the case in spring 2020 — and I don't have to tell you why. But at least sort of ironically, the cause for pain last year is the cause for one of the most hopeful springs I can remember this year.
Thanks to the miracle of modern science, the long, dark year of the coronavirus pandemic is coming to an end. As more and more people get vaccinated, more and more weight is lifted; more and more of our world steps tentatively back into the light.
Just this week, the first elementary school classrooms reopened in more than a year. There will be at least some living, breathing fans when the first pitch is thrown all around the country. Performing arts groups, convention planners, youth sports leaders can at least begin thinking about live events again.
There's no promise it will be smooth sailing from here — we know there will be stumbles, roadblocks and more before we can reap our rewards. It is important that we hang on to the lessons we've learned in the last year of suffering — both so we don't have to go through the same thing again and so we can make our future better than our past.
That's where I pivot back to Easter Sunday. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a promise of a brighter future for those who believe. It opens a path to salvation.
Christians know Christ's suffering on the cross was the necessary prelude to the triumph to come. We also know that the resurrection doesn't mean our work is done, or that we can forget the lessons we have learned. On the contrary, we must make those lessons central to our lives to reach our ultimate goal.
I hope I'm up to that task. But first, just for a day, I'll celebrate the promise that Easter brings.
I'm doing a lot of smiling this week — something I haven't done much of since before Easter 2020. You might not be able to tell — I'm still staying home most of the time, and I'm wearing a mask when I do go out.
I'm blessed to have been vaccinated a while back. I can look forward to brighter, freer days. But I'll continue to follow the rules, too. Call it lessons learned.
I want to wish you a Happy Easter. We have reason to celebrate today.