One of my favorite children’s songs has these lyrics: “Where love is, there God is also. Where love is, we want to be.” I am humming it to myself right now.
I love the peace and joy that comes to my heart as I sing the songs about the Savior. I have been immersing myself more in those very songs recently, and it made a huge difference in my Easter experience.
This past year, Easter felt much more poignant to me, and that feeling of God’s love permeated the day. I prepared this year like I never have before. I was hosting the big family dinner, and I wanted it to be special. So I pulled out all the stops.
I started preparing a week ahead of time, humming the hymns as I went. I made a sign for a centerpiece that read He is Risen and of course the accompanying hymn ran through my mind every time I saw it. It really is a joyous song! And of course, there had to be candy filled Easter eggs. But this year I found an awesome tutorial on Pinterest to use those eggs to teach young children about the Resurrection. They are called Resurrection Eggs. And my little guy really loved them. It was beautiful to see the light turning on for him.
As I have been reminiscing about this Easter, I’ve been asking myself what made it more special than before. I’m confident the music was part of it. I’ve also had close friends lose children far too young.
One of them posted an image on Facebook that really struck me. It was the Savior hugging a woman with the words “No goodbye will last forever #becauseofhim.” Next to that image she had a picture of her daughter Hailey’s grave. And her caption read “Because of Him my little angel will rise again. Happy Easter everyone!”
I have mourned her crushing loss. And as I read those words of hope the real joy of the Resurrection became clear. We speak of the Savior’s sacrifice in so many ways, but that simple truth has never been the center of my focus before now. What joy fills my heart knowing I will be with everyone I love again.
One of our friends made his transition to the other side of the veil just this last week. He had lived a long life, and he and my husband were close. But knowing their separation (though not nearly as painful as losing a child) is temporary, has helped with my husband’s feeling of loss.
When I was five, my Great-Grandfather died. And in her grief, my Great-Grandmother asked me to stay the night with her so she wouldn’t feel so alone. In my childhood innocence I was convinced that if I stayed with her, I would die too. It was creepy to me that Great Grandpa had died at home, and somehow in my five-year-old mind, that was going to be contagious.
Looking back, I laugh at myself. And I wish I had stayed to help comfort my Great-Grandmother. She was Christian, but didn’t understand the Atonement like my friend on Facebook. And her feeling of loss was much darker because of that missing link to knowing she would see her loving husband again.
Thinking of these two women and the difference in their understanding of the greatest gift the world has ever known is part of why this Easter was more special to me. I think I have spent almost every Easter up until today like my Great-Grandmother.
I was a bit in the dark, just hoping what I had learned at church was true. But somehow my preparation for Easter and the joyous hymns about the Resurrection and God’s love for us opened my mind. Seeing little Hailey’s grave next to the hope-filled message about the Savior sparked in me a joy and a light I have never known.
Easter is a celebration of joy! Previously, every time I thought of Christ’s sacrifice for me it was sad and painful. I shuddered at how He was treated. I felt terrible guilt knowing that part of His suffering was because of me. And I wished He hadn’t had to endure such excruciating pain in the Garden of Gethsemane. But now I know better- his suffering was a gift.
Jesus Christ loved us so much that He gave us a chance to live again, to be with God again. Before His sacrifice we were doomed to live away from God because we couldn’t become worthy to go back. But He bridged the gap and did for us what no other ever could. And he did so willingly. Truly, His was a gift of Love. For where God is, there Love is also.
I am so grateful for my Savior. For His willingness to come and live a pure life so we would know what one looked like. His example changed the world….and it changed me.
Patty thrives on all things creative. You’ll often find her in the garden pretending she is a suburban farmer. She loves meeting new people, and is devoted to her friends and family. In her heart she is a Midwesterner even though life has moved her all over the country. She believes in “blooming where you’re planted” and has found purpose in every place she has been. She has a deep and abiding love for the Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And she loves editing LDS Blogs because it is a constant spiritual uplift. Not many people can say their job builds their witness of the Savior.
This last week, a girl ended her own life in our school district. This has reverberated through the community in many beautiful and painful ways. Thank you for your reminder about the healing hope of the Savior’s sacrifice for us and the joy that singing simple truths brings. I’m going to put on hymn music today to bring that spirit into our home this Easter season.