This is my first Holy Week, Good Friday, and Easter with a child.
Sadly, one of my first thoughts about that was: am I supposed to get her an Easter basket? Oh I know! I'll put candy in her basket, and since she's only 10 months old, I'll eat the candy! Perfect.
Easter baskets are a fun tradition - when we are able to make it to my parents' for Easter, we still get them! The Easter bunny knows we adults like our Essie nail polish, fun socks, and yes candy. No eggs in my basket, though, plz. (Gag)
However, Easter baskets are not what we are celebrating this week.
- - -
In a quest to see if I could watch some TV shows in Spanish on Netflix, I stumbled across the mini series The Bible. I immediately added it to my queue and started watching it last night.
In the very first episode, God requires of Abraham a sacrifice - the very son he has waited decades to receive, the very son who was to be the beginning of Abraham's descendants - as numerous as the stars. Abraham, fully trusting in God, but understandable angry and sad, takes his son with him up the side of a mountain to offer a sacrifice to God. His young son, wide eyed and naive, looks quizzically at his father: where's the sacrifice? The Lord will provide, Abraham answers.
As Abraham ties up his own son, his own long-awaited and very loved son, you can see the anguish on his face, along with his stubborn trust in his God. The Lord will provide.
I had to look away as he raised his knife to the sky. I know how the story ends. I know God provides a young ram caught in a bush nearby, so Isaac can live. I know all this. But I had to look away because I have a daughter now. Up until know, my knowledge of the love for a child was hypothetical. The protective instinct and the all-consuming desire to keep them safe and happy was an acknowledged fact but not a feeling. When I pictured God asking me to do the very same thing he asked of Abraham, I knew I would have failed God's test of faith. I found myself getting angry - how could God ask such a thing of faithful Abraham, who had proved himself time and time again? How could he?
He could because God did the same thing. The Lord did provide a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. The Lord not only sacrificed his only beloved Son in one of the most painful executions the world has ever known, but he turned his face away and abandoned Jesus, just when Jesus needed him most. If my flawed love for my own daughter is fierce and strong, the God of heaven and earth's perfect love for his only son is incomprehensible. It is deeper and wider and stronger than any love we could have. And God sacrificed his son. Jesus begged for his fate to be taken from him, begged so hard drops of sweat turned to blood. And God's answer was no. You must die, Jesus, so the ungrateful people I have created can live.
I always tried to put myself in Jesus' place during Holy Week. The torture he went through for me. This time, I tried to imagine what it felt like for the Father during Holy Week. This is my first Holy Week, Good Friday, and Easter with a child.
- - -
Maybe I'll pick up an Easter basket with some candy for my daughter. She will enjoy that for about ten seconds before a computer charger or remote control captures her attention.
But the real thing I'm excited to share with her this and every Holy Week to come is the incredible immeasurable love her Father in heaven has for her. He would go to any length to make sure she is in heaven with Him someday. Even if that means giving up his only Son for her.
Good thing we know what happens Easter Sunday.