Easter Season lasts all the way to Pentecost, which is celebrated this year on May 23.  The season is a mirror image of Lent: 40 days of appearances by the risen Christ before His ascension.  40 days of praise.  40 days of joy.

The season moves around on the Christian calendar, as Easter can land anywhere from March 20 to April 25.  But it always coincides with spring, and is celebrated on the first Sunday after spring’s first full moon.  The flowers on the altar are a reminder not only of Jesus’ resurrection, but of the resurrection of nature and color and scent.

“Do not be afraid,” Jesus tells his disciples again and again.  On Easter, the fear is taken away.  They no longer have the death of Jesus hanging over their heads; and now they imagine their own deaths differently as well: as doorways to eternal life.  The message of the resurrection is that things will work out in the end for those who follow Jesus and trust in his teachings.  Love God.  Love your neighbor.  Feed my sheep.

Many of us are feeling a little more Easter-y than usual this year since we didn’t have the chance to celebrate last year the way we wished.  We didn’t have church services. Many of us didn’t see our relatives or enjoy an Easter dinner.  We were stuck in a never-ending Lent, or in Narnia terms, a “perpetual winter.”  This year, even for those still waiting on a vaccination, things are different.  We can see happiness on the horizon, even if we haven’t quite reached it yet.  We’ve gotten used to the new normal, but are hoping for another new normal, one that isn’t like the old normal or the first new normal, but may be something better: a period of years in which we appreciate all we have even more: our friends, our families, our faith.

As for me, I’m appreciating Easter this year more as a season than as a day.  My Lent grew darker as it progressed, but turned to bright light in the middle of Holy Week.  I had thought that Easter season would be a series of goodbyes, and now it is once again a series of hellos.  A season of grief has turned into a season of joy.

I praise God, who makes such miracles happen.  “He turns graves into gardens; he turns mourning to dancing.”  Happy Easter season, everyone!