Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.
When you have the best,
why settle for less?
Easter was certainly a notch below Christmas
on any child's most favorite holiday list.
Maybe it was because the date always changed,
a nine year old never quite knew when it was coming.
Or maybe it was because
there was never as much time off from school as Christmas break.
Whatever the reason,
Easter was a fun holiday,
but not the glamorous extravaganza
of December 25th.
But it had its perks......
the arrival of spring,
being able to play outside,
the Saturday evening coloring of the Easter eggs,
plastic green grass,
the early morning Sunday pageant at church
easter egg hunts,
and the Sunday evening showing of The Ten Commandments movie
(of which I never made it through awake....who does???)
But the best part of Easter
was the Easter basket.
The Easter basket
was the quintessential symbol of the jelly bean season.
where 4 siblings engaged in turf wars
over who had the rights to certain unmarked gifts under the tree,
the lines of demarcation at Easter were very clear.
My Easter basket.
Your Easter basket.
My marshmallow peep,
your marshmallow peep.
End of story.
Of all 4 siblings,
I had the best Easter basket.
My oldest sister had this huge monstrosity of a basket
that was large enough to tote groceries or small children.
My other sister had this very ornate basket
that looked like something out of a Baroque art fest.
My younger brother??
He was saddled with this pink, multi-pasteled eyesore
that looked like he had taken a shopping excursion to South Beach.
As for me,
I had the perfect Easter basket.
Understated, yet strong.
Not too big, not too small.
No frills, no ribbons,
just solid wicker.
A young man's perfect Easter basket.
Needless to say,
the chocolate rabbit with the candy eyes
was the crowning achievement of the basket.
But it was what was hidden below the level of plastic grass
that held the mystery of Easter morning for any nine year old.....
jelly beans, chocolate eggs, small windup toys....
Because I had the best Easter basket ever,
I searched for it when we cleaned out my mom's farmhouse
a couple of year's ago.
Mom's attic was a tribute to hoarders everywhere.
Anything and everything could be found in that attic.
Furniture that looked like it was from the civil war era.......
photo albums from 1929.......
ancient golf clubs, bowling balls, & archery sets........
handwritten minutes from church meetings ............30 years prior.
The woman never threw anything away,.....ever.
MY Easter basket.
When I found the box of Easter decorations & supplies,
the other three lesser baskets were there.
But my shining beacon of Easter joy?????
Going, going, gone.....
Not a trace.
I struggled with how an
otherwise fine upstanding mother-of-the-year
could have disposed of such an priceless piece of Easter antiquity.
Perhaps she had given it to the poor,
or maybe she had given it to an Easter museum so that the masses could enjoy.
Such thoughts could not soothe my devastation.
Imagine my devastation
when I found the crown jewel of Easter wicker
out in her garage a few days later.
It was tattered and torn,
and it was filled with.......
My larger-than-life mother
had turned my Easter basket years ago
into a flower pot.
The basket was beyond recovery.
Her glory was long since gone.
What was the best, was now the least.
I have thought about trying to replace that Easter basket,
but why try to replace something when you have been given the best?
Yet we do it all the time.
As I thought about my beloved Easter basket,
I began to realize that it represented what Easter is all about.
That is, how the One who created the universe
willingly chose to come to His creation as a man
and sacrifice his life upon the very tree which He had created.
His glory put aside.
His beauty beaten into disfigured flesh.
His sinless life taken ransom,
All so that we could have a portal to eternal life through and with Him.
And the response of much of mankind?
To replace it.
To attempt to find meaning to life
in any other way.
anything but truly following Him as Lord.
We have been given the best.
And His name is Jesus.
As we journey through the last supper,
the mock trial,
the splitting of the veil in the temple,
and the day that becomes as night,
take time to let the extravagance of the act
rest upon your soul,
and realize even more deeply.......
why should you settle for anything less in your life,
when you have been given the very best that heaven has to offer?
And that is why,
my Easter basket was and still is,