My earliest Easter memory is of sitting in a gym…or outside on a football field of some sort…with my Grandma Jo and my mom at the crack of dawn for the town’s Sunrise Easter Service.
I was too young to remember the location of the service, but I know we went for a few years, just the three of us. Or at least I only remember it being the three of us.
I vividly remember all the flowers and the scent of spring wafting through the gathered believers. I also remember sitting next to my grandma, her soft hand holding mine sometimes, and her wavery grandma voice loudly singing “Christ the Lord has risen today…Alleluia! ”
Her favorite flower was the yellow tulip and each year for the past nine years, Cortney and I have added a yellow tulip to the Easter garden in the front of our own church for the Easter service.
No longer do I get up at dawn and to attend a musical extravaganza of praise and rejoicing, but I do dress my boys in matching sweater vests and close my eyes and feel my grandma’s soft hand on mine while I sing “Because He lives” and with each “Alleluia” I hear her voice echoing through the church.
After the sunrise service, my mom and I would meet my dad and brothers and go to our church for the regular service, and then head to my grandma’s house for an Easter egg hunt with all my cousins. She always had those large, pastel-colored marshmallowy eggs, malted eggs, Reeses eggs, gum eggs, and lots and lots of jelly beans. While we hunted she would still be singing.
I also can remember my mom’s singing on Easter. Like her mother, she loves the holiday.
Easter is the most joyous day on the Christian calendar, and it is the day I remember my grandma and her love of spring, flowers, and her savior. I also think of how much like my grandmother my mom is. She sings with her grandchildren and spoils them with treats and toys for Easter as well (Cort’s mom does the Easter egg hunt for our kids which I am so grateful for. She is making memories our kids will remember forever).
In thirteen years since her death, I have never been to my Grandma Jo’s grave.
I don’t believe she is there.
Like her savior, she arose.
And on days like today, I feel that presence in the songs, the bright sunshine, and the smiles on my boys’ faces.
Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my Savior,
waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord.
Vainly they watch his bed, Jesus my Savior,
vainly the seal the dead, Jesus my Lord.
Death cannot keep its prey, Jesus my Savior,
he tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord.
Up from the grave he arose;
with a mighty triumph o’er his foes;
he rose a victor from the dark domain,
and he lives forever with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah, Christ arose!
“Up From The Grave”, my favorite Easter hymn.