What do cereal boxes, bank accounts, and toilet paper rolls all have in common? They are all disappointing when you find them empty! Think back to that fateful moment you’ve reached into the pantry to quickly nab that scrumptious dessert in a box for breakfast. Do you remember your shock when you found the amount of cereal left in the cardboard would only fill your spoon? Can you remember a time you filled your bowl of cereal only to find your milk jug with an eighth inch of liquid in the fridge? Do you remember how you could have throttled someone at that moment in the morning? Heaven help that dastardly person who neglected to throw the empty box and jug away before I found them! Oh, and we’ll never forget that moment we realize we overspent an empty bank account resulting in extra fees! That same emotional disappointment is what my youngest son, Micah, felt at a recent Easter Egg Hunt.
As a dutiful dad attending to my tiny tot at Central Church of Christ’s egg hunt, I worked diligently at pointing out all the stray eggs in the grass that older kids missed - or so I thought. After ensuring the little kids’ area was cleared, we strayed toward the big kids’ side and were surprised to find so many eggs left in the tall grasses in the middle of the yard. Sometimes older kids’ hunting practices look like adults hunting for car keys in the house; they can’t find anything when it’s left in the open in obvious places. Yet, I was puzzled at the bountiful amount of eggs the more mature hunters left lying in the grass. Micah was excited at the “eggstravagant” booty he pillaged from the older kids, until we began opening eggs.
Many of Micah’s eggs were empty! I chuckled as I realized what had happened. Some older kid was immediately eating the chocolate and then snapping the eggs closed and dropping them back in the grass! The realization gave me a giggle but gave my 5-year-old a frown. (I fear I’ve given some adult readers a diabolical prank for this weekend’s egg hunts!)
Yet, there is one empty item in which we can rejoice, and, because of it, we don’t have to be disappointed by emptiness any more. The empty tomb of Jesus Christ changes our perspective. We rejoice with Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James, as they reached the tomb with spices and anointing oils only to find no body inside (Luke 23:55-24:10). We praise God for the angel who rolled back the stone and said, “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.” (Matthew 28:6) We marvel along with Peter as he “rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, saw the linen cloths by themselves.” (Luke 24:12) Paul praised the emptiness of the tomb when he said, “If Christ’s tomb is not empty, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty!” (1 Corinthians 15:14) We exult in the Lord Most High that finally, we can find peace and joy in something that was empty: the empty tomb of Jesus!
Yes, life may bring you empty cereal boxes, empty people, or even some empty Easter eggs, but we can bear it all because God has given us the Spirit of a man who rose from the grave, leaving an empty tomb! May you be blessed because of the tomb’s emptiness this Easter weekend!
“You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here! See the place where they laid him!” – Mark 15:6