Break out your white shoes: spring has finally arrived! And with it comes Easter. Everywhere you look there are baskets and candy and bags of grass (the plastic basket kind, I mean.) Big white rabbits and fuzzy little chicks appear on greeting cards. But where is Jesus?
You can get chocolate and marshmallows bunnies. You can get jellybeans in every flavor imaginable. You can buy ready-made baskets or buy the stuff to make your own. Your basket can be green or pink or blue. Don't forget the matching grass and cellophane paper to wrap it. But where is Jesus?
Easter has become a commercial holiday. It has lost its religious beginnings. It's not about the Easter bunny. It's not about the Cadbury bunny. It's not about the eggs we spend hours coloring.
It's about Jesus.
Sure, don't get me wrong. I love all the stuff that comes with Easter. I remember getting homemade peanut butter smoothies and chocolate-shaped characters and animals. When I was younger, I would get one (yes, just one) toy in my basket. One year I got California Barbie. Other years I got posters for stars such as Luke Perry and Jason Priestley and stuffed animals like Patch from "101 Dalmatians."
But I also remember why we celebrate it in the first place. On Good Friday, Jesus gave his life to save us little people. A few days later, he rose from the dead. New life: He gave it to us. A chance for us to do good and live right.
Growing up Catholic, I never missed Mass on Easter Sunday. We bought dresses and occasionally hats and headed for church. I'm not going to lie and say that I am not among those who sometimes loose sight of the reason for the holiday. I do. I haven't been to church on Easter Sunday in I don't know how long. Part of that is because my son won't sit through the service. But I can't lay all the blame on that. It's my fault. There is no excuse to cover it. And some day, I'll have to explain it to a higher power.
But maybe if I live the rest of my life right, he'll overlook that. I pray every night; so does my son. I help others. I belong to a group of amazing women who donate their time and money and energy to charities around the valley. This past weekend we raised money for the Harrison County Relay for Life. If you were there, I thank you. If you weren't, I hope to see you next year.
We are not perfect. We can't even claim to be. But we can try. We can try to live up to what Jesus did for us.
I want my son to learn both sides of Easter. I want him to be excited to wake up Easter morning and hunt for his basket and toys (yes, more than one toy). But I also want him to know why we celebrate. I want him to teach his children and grandchildren. I can only hope that I am living the way God wants me to, so I can show my son what kind of person to be.
So whether you are reading this in your Sunday best after returning home from church or hanging out still in your pajamas drinking coffee, just remember why we celebrate today - what it means, what it's all about. Look past your chocolate eggs and marshmallow peeps. See the man who gave his life for ours.
From my family to yours, happy Easter.
(Letusick, a resident of Rayland, is a copy editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)