Easter and the Southern Cemetery

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornWhen I was growing up as a boy in the South, there was a cemetery on a little hill beside the country church my family attended. It was an old cemetery, with sunken squares of grass and crooked headstones popping out of the ground, creating a scene you'd expect to find in a Frontier novel or something.

To me and most of the kids I knew, that cemetery had an eerie mystery about it—the kind only a graveyard can offer. It was exciting in a spooky sort of way.
Still, my friends and I taunted our fears in that place. We played games there because it always made the hairs on the back of our necks stand up a little. And every time we were in that cemetery, we were constantly aware that death was just beneath our feet.

Every time, that is, except for one day each year, when we all lost sight of the graveyard's creepiness for a few minutes.

It was always in early March. The adults from church gathered among the plots with baskets of painted eggs to stash there. That's right—no matter how odd it sounds today, it seemed only natural to them that we should have our annual Easter Egg Hunt in the cemetery. I guess they figured the headstones offered perfect hiding spots.

So when all the eggs were stowed among the grasses, with a simple "Go!" the burial site became a carnival. For about ten minutes we all forgot we were at a graveyard. We lost sight of the tombs for the excitement of the Hunt.

Brightly-colored baskets swung among the gray stone markers. Kids clamored back and forth, sprinting to find and retrieve the most eggs. Parents cheered from the sidelines, pointing and laughing.

Looking back, the whole thing seems strange. An Easter Egg Hunt at the cemetery—odd, don't you think?

But then again, maybe it's not.

This column is about marriage and family issues, and on Easter Sunday I would be remiss to not write about the original Easter celebration, because it's the one thing that can offer real hope to marriages and families.

Despite what all the plastic eggs and chocolate bunnies in our homes today might suggest, Easter isn't just about candy and baby chicks. Half a world away and more than two thousand years ago, there was another burial site.

It was a tomb in Israel—likely a rock cave—that held a man who claimed to be God. And as history would tell us, three days after this man died and was buried, his followers began telling others that the man was alive again.

And He was.

Jesus Christ showed up in places where people didn't expect to see a dead man. He talked to people and he hung out with people. He taught that loving God and loving others were the two pillars of life.

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>He spent time reassuring people who had their doubts about Him. Then He left again, just as supernaturally as He had returned.

Hundreds were witnesses to this man's life after death. Years later many of these were brutally murdered because they still insisted it was all true.

And years and years later, this man changed my life. Jesus Christ took a man who fails and falls down in a lot of things, and He gave me the capability to love my wife, to love my kids, and to transform within my family.

I'm far from perfect, and I don't have everything figured out, but I do have the one thing that matters. So even though kids will scavenge a yard somewhere for eggs full of jelly beans, we won't let that replace our real Easter celebration.

And why would we?

When you know there's a grave just beneath your feet, how could you possibly tell yourself that all of this is for a few plastic eggs?
Author Information
Dan Seaborn
Dan Seaborn is the founder of Winning At Home, Inc., an organization designed to assist and encourage people of all ages and stages of family development. As a featured speaker at churches and large-scale events such as marriage conferences, corporate functions, and university assemblies, Dan Seaborn has earned recognition as a powerful and passionate communicator. Through practical illustrations and memorable real-life examples, he encourages individuals and families to lead Christ-centered homes.

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