Lately, hope has been a bit scarce in the world. The winter has been rough in many places, and stormy weather still affects states from Texas to New York. When we see the news, we see tornados devastating whole towns, people losing their homes, and sadly, many of their lives. We have school shootings, trains derailing, and many of us are in despair over the seemingly endless issues we face as a nation and as a world.
So, why should we celebrate this month?
This is a time of rebirth, thoughtful reflection, and, yes, a time to begin to hope that things will get better. Easter is next Sunday, April 9th, and Passover begins on April 5th and extends to the middle of the month, Thursday, April 13th. Here in Marshall, we have many beautiful churches, all offering Easter services. While we do not have a synagogue, we also honor our Jewish friends and residents for whom this is a sacred time of year and wish them a wonderful Passover.
Easter is especially important to Christians because it is the time when Jesus Christ was resurrected. Christians see this as the hope of eternal life. This past Sunday, we celebrated Palm Sunday, and this week Holy Friday starts the weekend of what is considered the most important highest of holy days for Christians. Our Catholic Church, St Mary’s, will hold an Easter Vigil on Saturday at 8 pm. All of our churches offer Easter services at various hours on Easter mornings. It will be a time of great joy in Marshall, indeed.
Chocolate bunnies and baseball games abound.
For many of us, especially those of us with children, Easter means the big bunny will bring baskets full of candy, peeps, silly toys, and… yes, bunnies, some stuffed, some chocolate. We love to color eggs and plan elaborate meals of baked ham or lamb roast and all the fixings. Our local stores in Marshall offer everything from easter cookies and cupcakes to tee shirts, coffee cups, and fun Easter gifts. It’s not all about the kids regarding some of those gift items. Buying little Easter gifts transcends age. We all like to get something to celebrate the holiday.
But maybe the best thing about Easter is that we know that Spring has arrived once it comes. Seeing everyone dressed in their Sunday best at our local church, the weather finally starting to settle into a calmer, more temperate climate, flowers popping their heads out of the dark rich soil to reach for the sunlight, the days getting longer, evening by evening, makes us start to hope again.
Major League baseball season has started. The major league teams are back from Spring training. They are playing in their home stadiums just like our Marshall Lion’s varsity team, which is having a good season so far. Sitting in the stands at a baseball game, whether it’s The Cubs, the White Sox, college, high school, or little league, is one of the most genuinely American experiences of all time. Trust me, if you feel down like things are bad, go to a baseball game. Sit in the sun, root for your home team, eat a hot dog, and just get into the game. For a few hours, you will forget everything else.
However you celebrate this time of year, whether in prayer or sitting at a baseball game, remember that all is not lost. Hope is the most important American value, and we are still the greatest nation in the world. Things can always get better when we are kind to one another, take care of one another, and remember that all things are possible when we work together toward common goals.
Shopping locally is the best way to support this wonderful community. Visit your local shops and get all your Easter needs. Ensure that anyone who needs a ride to church service on Sunday gets there. Invite people who may be alone or lonely to share in your Easter dinner. More friends at the table make a better celebration.
And most importantly, remember to give thanks in whatever way you do for the town you live in. Marshall is a special place; if you live here, be grateful for this community. If you don’t live here, visit, and you may decide to make Marshall your home too.