I'm not sure I'm going to need a new Easter dress this year.
I ordered a bunch of candidates, but I don't know if I'm going to keep any of them, not only because I'm not in love with them but, so much more, because I'm not sure I'm going to have an occasion to wear them.
But I am very, very sure of this: I need Easter. In fact, I'm sure we all need it, maybe more than we've ever needed it at any other time in history, save one.
I'm not talking about needing the reopening of businesses, as President Trump recently put forth.
I'm not even talking about needing to be able to gather in sanctuaries together, though that surely is a longing of so many aching souls.
I'm talking about needing the pieces of Easter that are not in question, because they've already been answered. I'm talking about needing the details of Easter that are not TBD, because they've already been determined.
We desperately need Easter, no matter what it ends up looking like. If it looks different than other years, it will follow in good stead, because the first Easter also looked entirely unlike anyone expected it to.
Jesus’ followers expected that first Easter Sunday to look dark.
They expected it to reek of death.
They expected it to be shrouded in fear and uncertainty.
They expected it to be heavy with disappointment.
Close to 2,000 years later, we know about these things.
But that first Easter, eleven words changed everything.
“He is not here. He is risen, just as He said.”
These words and the truth behind them turned the expected on its heel.
Dark went to light.
Death went to life.
Fear went to hope.
Uncertainty went to blessed assurance.
Disappointment went to fulfillment.
Defeat went to victory.
We need these gifts and maybe we need them with an urgency we've never known before. These riches are ours to take hold of, held out to us by the Giver of every good gift, Who is not waiting around to see if Easter will happen this year.
No matter what we end up wearing or where we end up wearing it or who might be near us to compliment us on a new dress, this Easter can blow our expectations out of the water.
No matter what we’ll be wearing, our certain celebration is based on what Jesus WASN’T wearing that Easter: His grave clothes.
This is the only thing we need to know to look forward, full-on, to Easter this year.
Let’s give the anticipation its due. Let’s put more weight on what we know than what we don’t. Let’s wait with eager hope. Let's look forward in confident expectation that our deepest needs will be met. And then let's watch God do, again, the glorious unexpected.