The Miracle of Easter is not that Christ rose from the grave. He’s God. He can do that. He didn’t need our help or our permission. The real miracle is that God resurrects our lives and brings beauty from ashes.  That does, however, require our permission and cooperation. You see, while God is all-powerful and all-knowing and is everywhere at one time, he does limit himself to our free will. His constant desire is to resurrect broken shattered people and create in them a new spirit and a new reality. We can accept that offer – or not.

God is in the resurrection business; bringing the dead to life, making all things new, replacing faulty thinking with his truth. We see his resurrection power in nature. Winter gives way to Spring. Seemingly dead branches burst into green leaves. Flowers fill the earth and animals come out of hiding. It’s a beautiful thing to see an alcoholic put down the bottle forevermore or a criminal come to repentance. A person at death’s door comes back to full recovery or an amputee runs a marathon, but miracles are happening all around us every day and go unnoticed.

A changed life is a miracle of highest value, one that is available to every one of us. When Jesus walked this earth he healed the sick, caused the blind to see, the lame to walk and the dead to come back to life. Sometimes it isn’t as obvious as a medical miracle, a drug addict recovering, or a new Christian giving up drastic  destructive patterns of behavior. We may not see the newfound hope and peace that enters a person’s soul because death has been conquered through Easter.

So often people say, “I’m a good person. I don’t need Jesus. There isn’t anything I would do differently if I became a Christian.” They may not do anything differently but they would be different. The miracle of Easter is that we can know beyond a shadow of a doubt where we will spend eternity. Those without Christ hope they will go to heaven. Those who are in Christ know they will.

Until that question is settled deep within each human heart, there is a gnawing worry that one may not be “good” enough to get through those pearly gates. In fact, the Bible does say, “There is none good. No, not one.” (Romans 3:12) In this passage, Jesus is drawing a distinction between man’s standard of goodness and God’s standard. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) In other words, no matter how good a person is, no one will ever be good enough for a perfect, holy God. Yet God in his mercy made a way where there was no way. We are made perfect in him (Jesus) who knew no sin.

Easter and Christmas are the two Christian holidays that are celebrated around the world. In fact, the only reason we have Christmas is to prepare for Easter. Jesus was born to die so that we can live. Not just for assurance of an eternity of peace and perfection but so that we can have life on this earth and have it more abundantly. Jesus said that in John 10:10. My favorite Christmas song recorded by my favorite recording artist, John Berry, speaks to the peace of Christmas that is only possible by the fulfillment of the Resurrection. These are the lyrics to the beautiful video link below.  My Heart is Bethlehem:

Eternity stepped into time
And drew a mortal breath.
This mystery so clearly seen
The world could not forget
That in the town of Bethlehem
In the most unlikely place
God the father wore a child’s face.

There’s something in the heart of God
So purely meek and mild
That finds its best expressions in
The longings of a child.
For every child’s heart has hungered
To be found and loved and known
A someone who would make their heart a home.

My heart is Bethlehem.
I will make room for Him.
This humble dwelling place
Made worthy by his grace.

This child is still adored
Because he still is born
Deep in the hearts of men
My heart is Bethlehem.

I wish for you this Christmas Eve
That you would find true peace
But silent nights are holy nights
And wonders never cease.
For there is no remembering
The ghost of Christmas past
For God’s forgiveness finds
Your heart at last.

My heart is Bethlehem.
I will make room for him
This humble dwelling place
Made worthy by his grace.
This child is still adored
Because he still is born
Deep in the hearts of men
To love and not condemn.
My heart is Bethlehem

My Heart Is Bethlehem – John Berry

When I think of my own life, I see resurrection from depression, poverty, shame, mental illness, ignorance, religiosity and the list could go on and on. Only those who have known me most of my life could see that change, however. The transformation has been very slow and often methodical. I was always the “good” girl so there wasn’t a transformation on the outside. It was a condition of my heart; a peace that passes all understanding, an acceptance of my life’s story, and a reaching outside myself to be focused on others instead of my own pain and struggles. The beauty of Easter is a transformed life. Easter blessings to all of you.