As a child, Easter was the time the entire country jolted back to life. You see, a few years ago (okay maybe more than just a few years ago), Holy Week meant an entire week of silence. And by silence, I do mean silence, there were no TV shows, malls were closed, and streets were basically empty. Easter was joyous because it was finally time to get back to the streets and feel alive again after days of being in the dark.

As I reflect on what Easter used to mean to me, I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of it all. How many times have we lost ourselves in the dark, wanting to be found by the light? As we grow older, we realize that Easter has nothing to do with traditions and has everything to do with shedding light on the dark places of our lives. Sometimes finding the light only takes a week, but most of the time, finding the light takes weeks, months, and even years.

Most of the time, we don’t even realize that we’re in the dark. Not until light comes through the cracks of the pit that we’re in and we see that life could be better than it currently is if we only to follow the light.

Easter has always had a powerful meaning. It’s a symbol of a powerful Father rescuing his beloved children who are the most undeserving of all by sending his own child who did no wrong. When you’re in the harvest season of your life, it’s easy to celebrate this gracious gift but it when you’re down on your knees that you realize its true significance.

As I grew older and did away with the superficial traditions of Easter, I grasped a deeper understanding of what it symbolized – forgiveness, and most importantly, redemption. Redemption from old habits, past hurts, and even offense we personally carry within us that we can’t seem to shake off.

Offense is often targeted at those who have hurt us – whether intentionally or unintentionally, sometimes it could also be directed at ourselves but more often than we would like to admit, it’s often directed at life and how bitter we can be over the fact that it didn’t turn out the exact way we wanted it to be.

Easter offers us a time to reflect on all the things we must let go of in order to finally let the light in. No matter how much pain we carry inside of us, we are collectively brought together by our desire to have more light. To finally let go of what could have been to usher in something better than we have planned out in our heads.

Easter always feels like a restart, a rebirth but first we must be redeemed from everything that happened or didn’t happen in the past. It comes with accepting certain realities but not giving up on the hope that tomorrow’s reality could radically be better if I just learn to let go.

And in doing so, in breaking cycles, in releasing hurts, and most importantly, in accepting the greatest sacrifice of all, His love, we allow ourselves to not just accept the light, but be the light.

And it is in being the light that we finally escape the dark places, never to return again.