An interesting fact: Every year around this time, the Chinese have a special holiday in which they pay homage to those who have passed on. It is known in China as Tomb Sweeping Day, and what I find so particularly interesting about this holiday is that it falls on the very same weekend as Easter this year. So on this Good Friday, as many people across this country make their way to the gravesites of their loved ones and reflect on the lives they led, I sit here in my apartment thousands of miles away from all my loved ones and reflect on the life of the One who conquered the grave on humanity’s behalf.
The older I get the more I find it strange that so many Christians tend to make such a huge, larger-than-life production out of Christmas--the months of travel planning, the hours of shopping, the tree-hunting, the decorating, the midnight mass, the Christmas cantatas, the other perfunctory family traditions,…while Easter gets a passing nod—a nice meal, some new Sunday clothes and a trip to church with all those family members who haven’t gone since Christmas. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. It's my favorite time of year. But it’s during Easter that we celebrate the very moment that defines Christianity…and the whole basis for Christmas...The death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It took His death to bring us life. There are years when I must admit Easter rolls around and I barely give it a passing glance. Then, there are other years when the magnitude of just what took place over 2000 years ago really hits me…Like when my grandmother passed away four years ago…and like now, being here in China…and realizing the world isn’t as small as I once believed…and recognizing just how extensive Christ’s love is for this extensive world…for every single person, past, present and future who ever dwelled in it…for every person who ever loved Him, despised Him, believed Him, denied Him, trusted Him, doubted Him, ridiculed or vilified Him.
And the truth is, whether you believe His is the greatest story ever told or the greatest con ever contrived--no one can deny the unparalleled impact of Jesus Christ. It transcends time and space…from ancient prophecy to modern history…from Oakland to Osaka…No other person to walk the face of this planet has ever had greater influence--to the extent that the world's entire calendar is centered on His very existence.
So on this Friday, while the Chinese acknowledge their dead and Americans preoccupy themselves with Easter eggs, I just wanted to spend some time acknowledging the One who died for me...and you. But they’ll be no tomb-sweeping for me...after all, His tomb is empty :o)