It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” is, of course, a Christmas song and yet there’s a sense in which I guess it ought to be updated to truly being an Easter song. Easter is the most wonderful time of the year.

Several years ago I was preaching at one of our churches on Easter Sunday. They had two huge morning services and the place was packed on Easter morning. The early service was filled with people who apparently had gotten out of bed and somehow gotten dressed and driven to church. They were not awake or at all engaged in the worship service, but as best we could we sang songs about the living Christ, prayed prayers, gave an offering, preached a sermon, and concluded the service without any deaths or serious health issues.

When the second service began it was later in the day and the people were slightly more alert, but many still appeared to be in a zombie state. When the choir finished a wonderful, stirring anthem about Easter, I walked to the platform and began to quote Luke 2: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.” I continued quoting the Scripture while people one by one were looking at each other and I think they were thinking, “That old fella has really lost it, hasn’t he? He got the wrong holiday. This is not Christmas. It’s Easter.”

The more I quoted, the more attention they seemed to be giving to my supposed confusion. When I finished the passage by saying, “And you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger,” I followed up with, “This was the greatest news the world had ever heard until that day on an Easter morning when Jesus was alive forevermore.” The fact that He came was glorious and the fact that He died and rose again is beyond comprehension. It is the most wonderful time of the year. One, because love was demonstrated beyond anything we had ever seen or heard before: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…” (John 3:16). What an incredible demonstration it was for Jesus, who never sinned — never one time in thought nor word nor deed was disobedient to the Father nor sinned against the Word and will of God — to die just for me. He died just for you, too, because He loves you.

Recently, a friend’s son had to have a kidney transplant. A donor was found for the match and the kidney was donated. The gift of that kidney, and of life, was from a grandson of my friend. What an amazing gift, but for you and me multiplied many times over is the amazing gift of God because He loves us so much. He does not want us to die an eternal death. He does not want us to be separated from Him forever. He wants us to know the fullness of life and total forgiveness, and so He gave His Son in our stead. Love was demonstrated, and Easter is the most wonderful time of the year.

Not only was love demonstrated, sin was annihilated. When Jesus was on the cross taking all the sin of the world upon Him — every wrong deed I have ever done, every wrong word I have ever said, every wrong motive I have ever felt, every wrong in my life — Jesus was dying for me. At the close of those hours on the cross, Jesus cried that incredible pronouncement, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The full debt of my sin was paid. Paid in full. Being a hard worker trying to do good and paying off God or doing something incredible for Kingdom service will never pay for one of my sins. It takes an innocent lamb, the Lamb of God, to take my place to pay for my sin.

At Easter, this is the story of the sin in my life being paid for and annihilated. Paul wrote in Colossians that Jesus took all of those things that stood against us because of our sinfulness, and nailed them to the cross. Praise God that my sins are paid for, annihilated at the cross. Indeed, Easter is the most wonderful time of the year because of that fact, but it is the most wonderful time of the year also because death is barricaded. You see, when you come to know Jesus you’re alive forevermore and death cannot have you. You will take your last breath here only to be awakened wide-eyed and alert into life everlasting. Life wins in Jesus, and so at Easter we celebrate it as the most wonderful time of the year because death has been barricaded from us.

If you do not know Jesus, you can know Him this very moment. Scripture says, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:11-12). Right now, as you read this article, you can bow your head and ask the living Lord Jesus to come and give you forgiveness of sin and life everlasting, and truly make this day the most wonderful time of the year.

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Jim Futral
Executive Director-Treasurer