One of my 8th graders approached me at school the other day. "Merry Christmas, Mr. Richardson!", he exclaimed as he handed me a gift. "Oh man, thanx!", I replied. Then I opened it up, looked inside, and saw ... nothing. So I glanced at the kid. He busted out laughing and said "I got ya!" before walking off. I stood there and laughed too. The ole empty bag trick is one that kids have been playing for generations.
It's not such a thrill to see an empty gift bag. But it is mega-thrilling to see the empty tomb. Let me explain...
We celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas. Then we remember His death on Good Friday. But we ultimately rejoice over His resurrection at Easter.
My Savior was dead. He had been crucified and buried on a Friday. He was still in that tomb on Saturday. He was in the clutches of death. But friends, on Sunday, the third day, He walked right out of that tomb alive and well. He had defeated death. Many people saw Him, and He then went back up to Heaven and rejoined His Father. Today, He is alive and well. Loving us, preparing a place in Heaven for us, and looking out for us.
The empty bag was a bummer. But the empty tomb of Jesus is a blessing. Because that tomb is empty, and because Jesus is alive, our hearts are filled with the Heavenly gifts of saving grace, everlasting joy, and calming peace, just to name a few. And if you ask me, I'll tell you that those gifts are better than anything that kid would have given me in a bag.