It’s rather sad that my kids are 3 and 8 this Easter and I have NEVER made Easter baskets!  They don’t even know that when I was a kid, I would wake on Easter morning and hunt with excitement for a brightly decorated basket, one that was full of Easter candy—chocolates in the shapes of bunnies, crosses, eggs, and chicks!
Easter is my favorite holiday; it always HAS been.  But apparently, not for the baskets or I’m certain that I would have passed along that delight to my own kids at some point before my 8th year of Mommydom!
Closest image I found. GREAT site! GREAT ideas!
Let me tell you about the ONE Easter basket that I will always remember:
My Mom spent a small fortune on it, I am quite sure.  A local woman handmade every glorious piece, and it was HUGE!  Even the basket itself was made of chocolate!  Every piece was the perfect color and shape… and SOLID chocolate, too!  None of those hollow bits.
After church, we returned home to begin eating some chocolate before lunch, and then….
OH MY NAST!!!  EVERY piece tasted like smoker-breath!  Mom cried.  I cried FOR her, for I knew that she had spent more money on us this Easter than she had on any other, wanting this day to be so special.  It was such a shame.  We tried and tried to eat the candy, handmade by Ms. Chainsmoker, hoping to make Mom feel like they weren’t ALL bad, but to no avail.  And regretfully, those BEAUTIFUL baskets aligned themselves with all the other smells in the garbage bin.
Today, while I have loved reading status change after status change on facebook of bible verses and Easter thoughts, reflections on the cross, and the Grace of God to a world in need, I was reminded of those baskets.  It sure looks great to see such focus on the Savior of the World; he is being highly decorated via some letter type and hits of the “return” key on a computer keypad or smart phone.
By Monday, though, we get to see what the candy is made of. 
Grace is the most phenomenal gift we’ve been given.  It does not merely reflect human pain and a cruel death that we deserved but do not have to experience.  Grace is heavy.  Grace is strong.  Grace is powerful.  Life-giving.  For Christ became the once-for-all sacrifice over a sinful world, for those who lived before & after that first Good Friday, and the very depth of the grace-miracle took place.  Christ took on the full wrath/punishment that every sin deserved.  To those watching, he appeared to be gone, but he was facing what you and I are never going to even understand, accomplishing all that he had set out to accomplish.  “It is finished.”  The sting of death and the stench of sin—gone.

When he rose again to life, he was a glorious display of life-everlasting, of a sin-offering made pleasing and right with a Holy God.  And when you and I surrender to this great King and High Priest, who also became the perfect Sacrifice for all sin, we are identified IN him, and to our Holy God, we are seen IN the resurrected life of His Son.  We have died to sin, and live in righteousness.  We live.  We live.  The punishment has been taken, the ransom has been paid, and every day, everything about us has changed… we live in complete and utter gratitude for the gift that we have been given.

Anything less, and I am merely smoker-breath-filled candy.  It is impossible for me to decorate my life from the inside out.  I can make the outside appear good, but Jesus paid the very expensive price to remove my sin and make me fragrant, acceptable, pure.  When my life is willingly broken in Christ and offered in surrender to the Most Holy God on high, I am made glorious, and my living becomes a sweet sacrifice that He receives—one that I could never have created or handmade on my own.  Oh, that I may die daily to live every single breath with purest, deepest gratitude.
Thank you, Jesus for the Cross.

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” ~1 Peter 2:23-25 (NIV 2011) 

And now, just as I am finishing this post, the kids are opening boxes that a delivery man JUST dropped off at Mr. Condo!  Thanks, Grandma!!!  Easter basket joy is upon us, and again… in spite of me.
Grace.