_DSC0056Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
“Why aren’t these Easter eggs filled with candy? Why are they filled with random crap?”
Half asleep, but also half annoyed by the comment, I turned around to see a 7 year old boy with a plastic grocery bag filled with Easter eggs. These were Easter eggs that I had stayed up until 2am to fill. Each egg had a different item in them that would tell the story of Easter. For instance, in some eggs were pieces of cloth, symbolic for the linens Jesus’s body was wrapped in when he was put in the tomb. Some eggs had nails, for the nails driven into his hands on the cross. Some eggs had cracker crumbs to represent the bread broken on the last supper, and lastly, some Easter eggs were empty to symbolize the empty tomb when Jesus had risen.
100 Easter eggs that I had filled. 30 decorated baked goods for a snack that I had painstakingly put together. 3 massive stuffed bunnies I had bought to give away as prizes  after the egg hunt. And all it took was one kid. One kid to ruin it all. One kid who was hard to love.
So why am I writing about Easter for and advent blog series? Well, you could argue that advent is nothing without the resurrection, and I’m going to play that card. If it wasn’t for Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, for his undying love for us (I’m talking about His death on the cross), there would be no reason to celebrate His coming into the world.
I used to work at an inner city church in Cincinnati. I was in charge of driving the “church bus” to and from the kid’s houses, planning Sunday School, and mentoring these kids through LOTS and LOTS of conflict-resolution. Seriously though, these kids were in a constant brawl with each other. And I had poured my heart and soul into planning a massive Easter egg hunt for these kids, since most of them wouldn’t have one at home.
In my head, I imagined being the hero to these kids, giving them free treats and stuffed bunnies while explaining the most climactic part of the New Testament—the crucifixion and resurrection. I imagined the whole egg hunt playing out sort of like a Hallmark movie, where children ran around laughing and picking up eggs, then snuggling stuffed bunnies while they ate my Easter treats, and then to top it all off, I would explain the story of Easter through the obscurely-filled eggs and end by saying something cheesy like “Jesus’s resurrection was sweet”. At that point in my daydream, I would throw candy at my adoring fans, I mean, children.
That’s not how it worked.  
So as I turned, towards that 7 year old with the plastic grocery bag, I watched him grab every Easter egg out of his plastic bag, throw each one on the ground, and curb stomp them one by one into broken plastic bits.
Little did he know I had candy and snacks waiting for him inside the church, but I wanted to wait and give everyone those sweets until after the egg hunt.  I honestly felt like the shattered plastic when that boy smashed each little vessel of my hard work, but more than that, I felt angry. I felt hurt. When you work with kids, you really have to watch your reactions. And these kids especially liked to test my limits. So if I were to respond angrily, like he expected, I let him win. Reacting with anger would undo everything I had worked so hard to teach; being patient, holding your temper, being kind, and loving like Jesus would. This was when I realized that I still needed to act loving. I needed to love all. So instead of losing my temper with that kid, I calmly said “Well that wasn’t something very nice to do.” Then, confused, he looked at me as if still waiting for me to explode or scold him.
Sometimes you try your hardest to love others. Sometimes people disappoint you. Sometimes loving others hurts. Even when Jesus showed us the ultimate action of love, by dying for us, he suffered.
This holiday season, challenge yourself to love all. And by loving all, don’t just love your friends and family. It’s easy to do that. Love those who least deserve it. Love those who hurt you. Love those who smash your Easter eggs. I mean it. When you go to Starbucks and the barista is extra rude to you, tip them well and say “Merry Christmas”. On Christmas Eve, actually listen to your 13 year old niece talk for half an hour about the cutest boys in her school. Don’t cut her off or zone out. If it is easy to love someone, awesome. But Jesus calls us to love all. That means loving the people who are hard to love. So whether you’re holding your tongue through the Starbucks drive-thru, engaging in conversation with someone who is way more excited about the subject than you, or even not losing your cool on a 7 year old boy as he stomps on your Easter eggs, do it out of love. I mean it, really try to love all. For as it says in Matthew 25:40 “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
allison.pngAllison McAloon is a Junior Nursing major from Chesterton, Indiana.  She is on the Equestrian team and a member of the Ecumenical Worship Team at Xavier.  In her free time she enjoys playing guitar and painting.  She also is a hard core fan of Orca Whales.