I don’t recall how old I was when Easter replaced Christmas as my favorite holiday, but I do know I was already married and a father. As a kid, I enjoyed the Easter story just fine, but I treasured the baskets of chocolate bunnies, hidden eggs, and candy. As a man, I gained a deeper understanding and appreciation of this holy holiday. Easter changed me.
As the years rolled on, Easter affected my faith in God. But Easter also had a profound impact on how I handled family life. The more I considered what Easter is really all about, the more Easter challenged and encouraged me to be a better dad. Here are 3 ways Easter has inspired me as a father.
It reminds me that the greatest love is a self-sacrificing love.Easter is about the ultimate self-sacrifice by Jesus: His very life.
I think most dads feel like our lives are already pretty selfless. We often sacrifice our time, our energy, sometimes even our health as we work hard for our families. But Easter is about the ultimate self-sacrifice by Jesus: His very life. Sure, we’re quick to say we’d take a bullet for our kids or some such claim. The truth is, few of us will be required to make that ultimate sacrifice. Yet we can be pretty selfish when it comes to the daily grind. Can we show them what sacrifice looks like? I ask myself every Easter: “What am I actually personally sacrificing of my own self-interests for my family? Am I willing to set aside my hobbies, my time, my money, my preferences, to be present and engaged with my children?” Saying I love my family but living like I love myself more is the opposite of Easter.
It reminds me to give second chances.
The message of Easter is that Jesus provides reconciliation and new life to sinners separated from God. I’m convinced that includes every one of us. No matter what I have done in my life, I have an opportunity for a second chance, for a new start, because of Jesus. Old offenses, tired habits, deep regrets—none of that can stand up to the grace and forgiveness God offers me in Jesus. As a dad, at times I’ve been too quick to bring down the hammer of justice on my children without affording them the opportunity of second chances. I have to challenge myself to offer grace and reconciliation to my children when they mess up with me or others.
It reminds me that there’s hope for the future.
Though the last days and hours of Jesus’ life were grim and brutal, His resurrection three days later became the ultimate victory. Hope overcame hopelessness. New life defeated pain and death. During the hardest, darkest days of my life, when I’ve agonized over how much I’ve screwed up or even questioned if life was worth continuing, this hope has rescued my heart. The hope of my future resurrection through Jesus gives me hope for the future of my marriage, my children, and myself. Easter shows that God redeems pain and brokenness. He uses it all, turning it around somehow, someway, for some good. I may not always see it in the moment, but I trust that it’s true. And that’s made all the difference.
Sound off: What is your favorite holiday and why?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Which is most important for our family: selfless sacrifices, second chances, or having hope when things are hard?”