My Very First Easter Morning

Early this morning I awoke with the light breaking through the patio door in my new bedroom… I knew instantly it was Easter. As I lay there, my mind wandered back through my Easter memories.

Easter mornings and Memories

When I was a boy, Easter morning was similar to Christmas morning. My mother would go to great lengths to make Easter baskets, and were they glorious. Filled with chocolate of all types, and the jelly beans that made up the kind of foundation on top of that crazy grass. The first Easters I remember always had an Easter Basket AND a gift. But our Easter gifts were much different than Christmas…they were projects…projects we got to do with my Dad. One year it was a model car. We worked together on building that model car, meticulously separating the parts, painting them, putting them together with just the right amount of Testers glue. Another year it was airplanes, and still another an elaborate kite. I still remember running up and down the street with my Dad working hard to get the kite to fly.

Easter and following Christ

But then Easter changed…and we became followers of Jesus. Oh, we still had Easter baskets, and we still had gifts that we experienced with Dad. But that very first Easter was something else…I had never been to church on an Easter morning prior to that.

On that first Easter morning as a Christian we all had new clothes to wear, and I had on dress pants and shirt with a tie. I couldn’t ever remember wearing a tie before that morning and I was excited about it. Why? Because my mother was good at leading us to believe that we didn’t “have” to wear a tie…we “got” to wear a tie. I didn’t buy that thought for very long, but I did this first Easter.

Easter and wood paneling

Now I must tell you that I do remember this first Easter, but I don’t remember what candies were in my basket, nor the basket itself, nor do I remember what Dad, Keith and I did late that afternoon in great detail, but it had something to do with a wood burning set. Mostly on that Easter I remember Easter service.

We got into our Ford station wagon (yep the one with the fake wood paneling down the side), and we drove to my grandparent’s church that had just weeks before become our new home church. It was a 15-20 minute drive from our house in Kearny to our church in Winkelman. I can remember that service like it was just last week.

Ruth Odom was our song leader before they called people “worship leaders”. We started the morning off with a song that started,

Low in the grave He lay

      Jesus, my Savior.

Waiting the coming day,

      Jesus, my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose

And, oh, how the people sang that song. That small congregation of perhaps 75 people just let it rise to the rafters with Sister Odom leading the way with her strong soprano voice. Then we sang a second song titled He Lives.  My favorite part of that old hymn was in the chorus where at one point it hit a fermata (a note you hold as long as is desired). I can close my eyes and hear it now, “He Lives, He Lives. Salvation to impart…(wait for it, wait for it) You ask me how I know He lives. He Lives within my heart!”

Easter and a picnic

It was glorious. My first pastor, Pastor Graph, shared my first Easter sermon. But then we got to experience something else we had never experienced before…a church picnic…fried chicken and all. You see, our song leader, Ruth and her wonderful husband, Charles, opened their home and their incredible back yard to a church picnic. What a time – laughing and celebrating on that first Easter. We hunted for Easter eggs, ate the best fried chicken ever, and made friends.

I’ll never forget that first Easter. I rise this morning in a new home, with a new beginning. I serve the same Savior and He has “walked with me and talked with me along life’s narrow way.” This morning I will drive to church with my family and while we will celebrate with different songs I know that same joy and excitement will permeate my being.

Each of us can have a “first” Easter. I had mine 43 years ago today; and I wouldn’t change even one of those Easters. Why?

He is Risen…He is Risen indeed.

 

What was your first Easter like?