“Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.” —Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Thus begins the beloved tale of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The miserly and miserable Ebenezer Scrooge lives his days obsessing over pennies and production, overlooking lives and love. He is up for a transformational surprise when, on Christmas Eve, he is visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come. He receives the rare gift of seeing the narrative of his life from someone else’s perspective. In his masterpiece, Dickens describes Scrooge as a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner. Sound familiar? It was I—it was you—it is we, before the redemptive and transformational work of Jesus Christ on the cross. In the course of the story, Scrooge’s response to human suffering changes from “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?” to “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.’’ This week, this Holy Week, I have been pondering this question: What does it look like to keep and honor Easter in my heart, all the year long?
As believers, we talk about Easter Sunday, and rightfully so. We celebrate Christ’s resurrection, His death and life, and the amazing, life-altering truth that Christ has paid the penalty for our sin. Hallelujah! For us at our house, Resurrection Day will be a full one—services with the family and lunch afterward; an egg hunt with the cousins; many, many cups of coffee; praise songs all day long. Then the sun will go down, sugared up kids will be tucked into bed, and eventually we will find our own soft pillows. Maybe I’ll tell Facebook about how grand the day was.
And then the sun comes up. The day after Easter. Easter Monday. What does it mean? What difference does it make? In the light of the Resurrection, and that our Savior conquered death and hell, how then shall we live?
“But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.…For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead.” (1 Corinthians 15:13–20a)
Hallelujah, what a Savior! Easter Monday is the liturgy of love, where the praise gets practical. It means living in the reality that you serve a risen Savior. That you are bought with a precious, matchless price, and that nothing can snatch you out of His hand. It is the anthem that death has died and love has won! Easter Monday is the first of 364 opportunities to keep the resurrection in our hearts, all the year long.
The Promise of Renewal
High School essayists may debate me, but I think A Christmas Carol is about investing in and impacting lives for good—the difference that what you believe makes on your choices and actions today, especially as you interact with the needs others face. An Easter Carol is about the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the difference that beautiful reality makes on the way you live your life, the thoughts you think, the choices you make, and the way you love. What does this look like for you, dear friend? How can you honor Easter in your heart all the day? All the month? All the year? The majesty of Resurrection Sunday spills over and informs Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and every day in between! The covenant of resurrection collides with the ritual of this annual event we call Easter, and the sacrament of sacrifice declares that we are His.
The Liturgy of Love in Action
The promise of the Easter Carol is the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It declares redemption and security in Christ, for today and for eternity. (If living in freedom Easter Monday is not your reality, email me. I would love to share the certainty of Jesus with you!)
Write it down as trustworthy and true: He makes all things new (Revelation 21:5). This “all” includes me! This “all” includes you!
When the sun comes up and shines on the urgencies and needs of your Easter Monday, be reminded again of the beauty of the Resurrection. “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said” (Matthew 28:6).
And so, as Tiny Tim observed, “God Bless Us, Every One!”