I don’t remember this photo. I believe my daddy took it one Easter Sunday morning nearly my lifetime ago. My sisters seem to be working hard to make sure I sat still long enough for him to capture this moment.
They’re not the only ones who worked hard. My folks made sure we were always well dressed, well fed, well educated, and just plain well loved. No Easter was complete without new dresses, bobby socks or tights, and gloves. Every Sunday dinner plate had to have two meats and plenty of veggies—my cheeks still tell the story! We had to tote all our books home from school every day, whether we had homework or not, and we weren’t supposed to turn on the television after school. Mama would check the back of the TV set to see if it was warm, just to make sure we obeyed. No, my folks didn’t play.
Both my mama and daddy worked full time, but that didn’t keep her from coming home and cooking a full meal every night for her husband and three girls. After dinner, we all congregated in the den because we didn’t have a man cave or a play room to run off to so we could enjoy some “me time.” When J.R. got shot on Dallas, we were all tuning in. Together. No, we didn’t eat promptly at 5 p.m. every day, but then, neither do the Pearsons!
Everybody knew who my daddy was; he’d just show up at school when I least expected it, and that was fine by me—not that it mattered if it wasn’t. And somehow, despite managing all the responsibilities at home and at work, Daddy made it to almost every football game on Friday night to see me march at halftime in the band.
It wasn’t all fun and games and dressing up in our Easter finery. Housework was a real thing. My sisters and I used to tiptoe around the house on Saturday mornings, trying to let Mama sleep in as long as possible. You see, we knew the minute she woke and started playing Shirley Caesar, it was game on! We’d spend the rest of the day cleaning everything from the floorboards to the top of the door frames. She’d pull out every dish in the refrigerator so we could scrub every shelf and empty an entire can of Pledge so we could polish every stitch of furniture. Believe me, we paid the price for the song “No Charge.”
My parents’ work didn’t stop at the front door, and their love for their family didn’t end when they clocked in at the office. If I got sick at school, Mama picked me up early. When we needed extra money, Daddy stayed late to earn it. We girls didn’t have everything, but we lacked nothing.
Yes, they did everything they could to provide for us girls; in fact, they’re still giving and loving and doing. But “if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11)
You see, nothing compares to God’s provision, here and now—“in the land of the living”—and forever, which started the moment I believed Christ lived, died, and rose for me. (Psalm 27:13; John 3:36) That’s the reason for all that Easter chocolate, Sunday dresses, and ham with pineapple glaze.
The Lord is ever working on our behalf, seeing to it that we enjoy the love of family and friends; the security of a home; the blessings of ministry and worship; the responsibilities of teaching, giving, and working within our four walls and beyond our front door.
But God’s love doesn’t stop at the door of this life: He goes all the way. When Jesus pronounced, “It is finished” on the cross, that didn’t mean death ended His work. That was just the beginning! Death was no match for Him. Pilate might have thought he had power over who lived and who died, but Jesus gave His all; it wasn’t taken from Him. The cross only pointed the way, and the stone couldn’t contain Him. God’s saving grace covers eternity, and His indwelling Spirit guides my every moment of every day.
So, Charlie Brown, this is what Easter is all about—not rooting for eggs, fancy clothes, family gatherings, and singing “At the Cross.” All wonderful things. It’s about Jesus’ sacrifice at the cross, the power of His Resurrection, and the love of God, the only good and perfect gifts.
My Father’s life-saving work is never done.
He is risen!
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)