It was the night before Easter. The night before the big celebration.
We quieted our hearts while the four year old asked if he could eat his bread yet and the toddler squirmed around in Daddy’s lap reaching for the grape juice.
We knelt together, the four of us, and prayed for the Holy Spirit to convict our hearts of sin, of the wrong we had done against Him and each other.
Pen in hand, I scrolled the sins confessed by the three of us who can talk on a yellow piece of paper. We tore each one out and folded them gently in our hands as we asked God to forgive us.
We placed our sins in the basket and talked about the bitterness of sin. We drank from a cup of vinegar to remember.
Then, Daddy led us all through communion – the bread and the wine were blessed nourishment after tasting the bitterness of the vinegar. The juice sweet and the bread soothing.
We remembered. We remembered Jesus on Calvary Hill. And we remembered Jesus buried in the tomb.
Poured out as a drink offering for our sin.
The sheet covered the basket, burying our sins with Jesus in the tomb.
The little ones wondered at this strange night of family devotions, and they sauntered up to bed tired and confused.
Why did Jesus have to die?
Did it really have to end like that?
Day breaks and just as the sun begins to peep over the tree line, little bodies begin to stir and to babble, eager to begin a new day.
But wait! We remember the basket. Our sins. Jesus lying dead in the tomb.
Downstairs I wait for the children to come down. My camera poised for the first crack of a smile, the first shout of glee.
They walk cautiously over to their basket. It looks different. It’s not the way they left it.
The sheet is gone. The stone is rolled away.
The sins have been replaced with gifts and candy and everything that makes them happy! Everything that makes them feel loved!
And then they see it.
Without thinking, the oldest rips open the bar and takes a big delectable bite.
He kneels before his brother who runs to the chocolate bar and begins to eat from the other side.
Neither considering that perhaps they should first ask for permission to eat the candy.
They just enjoy the gift.
Their sins are gone and in its place is the most beautiful gift. Completely free. Completely available.
Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! ~Psalm 34:8
My children never cease to teach me the depths of the glory of the Cross. They never fail to awaken me to the basic and most simple truth of the Gospel – it is all of grace.
My sins are gone. Jesus washed away all my sins and in His wake He left the gift of eternal life.
We don’t need permission to reach out and grab hold of the gift He is offering. We don’t need to even move cautiously.
The gift is there. It’s ours. We can run with abandon to Jesus our Savior.
Jesus isn’t dead anymore!
He is risen!
We are forgiven!
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 6:23