News Editor

Stephen Milligan is the news editor of The Walton Tribune. He lives in Monroe and is a graduate of the University of Georgia.

It’s not the ideal way we prefer to celebrate Easter.

There have been no egg hunts. The search for candy with which to bedeck our Easter baskets has been sharply curtailed by shelter-in-place restrictions.

The very atmosphere these days seems tinged, not with the celebratory feel of a major holiday, but with the constant fear and anxiety which seems to have stricken the entire world in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s unfortunate, for Easter is far too underappreciated as a holiday already. Unlike Christmas, the other major Christian holiday on the schedule, Easter has never been able to shed its religious nature to reach full acceptance by the secular calendar.

Despite all the bunnies and eggs and candy, Easter is a bit of a secondary or even tertiary holiday to those outside the church, accorded far less attention and respect than holidays like Independence Day, Thanksgiving or even Halloween.

Most of us will be celebrating Easter alone this weekend, gathered only in our small household clusters due to the self-isolation measures we’ve all had to adopt. There will be few family get-togethers in a time when the idea of getting together has become verboten.

The joy of Easter, however, is it does not depend on our feelings or the outside trappings around it.

The Easter baskets, the egg hunts, the excuse to dress up in our vernal finery, all of that is just window dressing. Sure, I enjoy digging into a pile of fake grass to find one last piece of candy, but it’s not essential to the holiday.

Easter will dawn on Sunday just as it dawned on an empty tomb more than 2,000 years ago.

It won’t matter if we have to attend church via a YouTube video or if we can’t make it to church at all. Easter will still have come.

It will remind us of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of the world, which is true now and forever, no matter how bad things look outside.

In “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” Dr. Seuss’ green-furred crank finds stealing all the holiday finery less than effective.

“It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags ... He hadn't kept Christmas from coming, it came! Somehow or other, it came just the same.”

Easter can do no less. It will come just the same and I hope you’ll celebrate it with us, virus or no virus.

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