I'm not much of a spiritual social media guy. Most of my facebook friends are already LDS, and those that aren't either don't care much about religion, or have lived in Utah most of their lives and probably have heard plenty of LDS stuff. Either way, the point is I highly doubt anything I say in that regard will do much good. Then I watched a Christmas video on youtube, and it was the random behind the scenes part that got me into the Christmas spirit, and willing to write a Christmas post.
I mentally worked out a rough draft, but it never got posted (maybe it will next year), though you are about to get some of the content. My favorite part of Christmas is Christmas Eve when we would get together at my grandparents, sing Christmas songs, go to the nativity scene at the temple, and then come back and listen to Grandpa read Luke 2. Even when I wasn't in St. George for Christmas Eve, I would read through Luke 2 and imagine it in my Grandpa's voice.
I knew that would be one of the main two parts about the favorite Christmas post, but then something happened -- my grandpa passed away a week before Christmas Eve. I was pretty broken up over it. Suddenly my Christmas post didn't matter so much. Whenever I thought about it, it always turned back to my Grandpa, and I wasn't ready to handle all of that, so I permanently postponed that post.
Well now Easter is here, and Easter has always tied in closely to Christmas for me -- not only because of the Savior, though that is the biggest and most obvious connection, but because of my Grandpa. Easter was always celebrated by having dutch oven potatoes and chicken with a wide variety of sides down at his farm with all sorts of extended family. It also included Easter Egg hunts, my Grandpa giving tractor rides, and other various activities my Grandpa would put on. Now that Christmas is far enough back and it's Easter, I feel like I can write about my Grandpa without getting as emotional (this post isn't exclusively about him, but I'll make sure he gets one at some point), and his passing has a better tie in to the Easter season than the Christmas season.
While Christmas might be more fun and jolly, I've always thought of Easter as the most important holiday, and that it celebrates the most important day in this history of the world. There have been plenty of days filled with spiritual significance before and after, but I don't think those other things would matter as much if it wasn't for Easter. The Savior's birth was obviously very important, His mortal ministry is why we have the New Testament, and His suffering in the Garden of Eden as well as on the cross needed to happen so that we could be cleansed from sin. Yet I'm not sure any of that would have mattered had it not been for the Resurrection. The Resurrection was the finishing touches to the Atonement. Spiritual death was conquered when He suffered and died, but it would have been incomplete without the Resurrection which conquered physical death.
I was lucky enough to visit Jerusalem in 2013. I don't know if I walked any where the Savior did -- in fact I would wager I likely didn't since Jerusalem has been built and rebuilt upon itself so many times -- but I know the Lord did walk in that city, both before and after His death. I've been to the two popular sites that could have been the Garden Tomb. It also could have been some other site that others don't know about. I don't really need to know where it was to know the important thing about the tomb: that it's empty.
Thanks to that incredible gift of the Atonement, so many things are possible: my favorite being eternal family. Being born in the covenant meant that I would always have my family. Sure, I fought with my brothers as a kid, and rebelled against my parents (mostly missing curfew by a few minutes every weekend and skipping young men's on Tuesday nights -- I know, such a rebel), I always enjoyed knowing that they would be around forever if we lived how we should. And that includes being able to see my Grandpa and Grandma McArthur again some day. Unfortunately, the list of close family and friends that have passed on will grow as I get older. It's a sad fact, but it's far less sad thanks to the Atonement.
I hope you all have a wonderful and happy Easter, eating plenty of chocolate and looking for eggs, but I also hope you take the time to remember why we have Easter. One of my favorite lines relating to the Atonement came from one of the church magazines in a story about two kids with disabilities. After one of the kids pointed out they both have disabilities, it was followed with (and I'm paraphrasing a little) "But it's ok, Jesus will make us better one day. Jesus will make everything better."
That is why I love Easter, because it is the day that everything could be made better thanks to the Savior's sacrifice. It makes me think how I will see lost loved ones again. And it helps me understand a little more the line "Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: 'I know that my Redeemer lives!'"