The birds seem to understand it- they are out in force. Their songs punctuate the morning. As the sun continues to rise, they begin to move about presumably in search of breakfast.
Around the world, we celebrate.
Just when they thought it couldn't get any worse, something happened. He had suffered a day that had been predicted for many years. He was wrenched from his friends in the middle of the night after an already long day. They beat him, spit on him, whipped him, and finally crucified him. He never argued or defended himself. As they drove the nails into him, he didn't beg for his life.
Slowly, excruciatingly, he died. Whether from the injuries received, the inability to breath, or shock; he died.
His friends watched all of it. At first, they simply tried to stay of it. After all, these people would come after them next. Throughout the day, they grew a bit bolder and saw it all happen. They watched the charade by the religious leaders; the phony accusations, the humiliation, the torture.
When he died, they felt deep loss. The one person who loved them unconditionally was gone. They felt shame. No one rose to his defense. He died alone.
They thought that was the end of it. His tormentors thought it was the end of him and his threat to their established authority, in the name of God.
But something happened that morning. The women went to his hasty grave for the purpose of properly preparing his body for burial. Even in death, he had been cheated of dignity and respect.
As they approached the grave, they realized that it was open. Even more incredibly, his grave was empty! Someone had taken his body, they thought.
And then, they saw him.
He was alive!
Everything he had taught, everything they believed, came true in that instant.
Jesus had the power to conquer death. No matter what happened to him, no matter how horrible life (and its end) was, he overcame it. He had promised it. And now, they realized it was true.
It's what we celebrate every Easter. Whether it's the Easter Bunny or something else, this time of year we all commemorate what happened to Jesus. The community of mankind recognizes what happened that early, quiet morning when those women realized that Jesus was still alive.
He offers it to us. We believe. We trust. And we live the way that he wants us to live.
We will conquer the grave. No matter what this life throws at us, no matter how unfair or difficult, we will live forever. With those believers who have gone before us. With Jesus, in heaven.