I would assume that the vast majority of those reading this column remembers the cartoon movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. It has been around since the 60’s and I never get tired of watching it at Christmas time.

Just in case someone hasn’t seen it, the premise is the Grinch lives in a cave above a village inhabited by Who’s hence the name of the town was Whoville. They were happy all the time and it drove him nuts – being the grinch he was.

One year he had the idea that he would steal all their Christmas trees, decorations, presents and even the fixings for their Christmas feast. He thought that by taking away their possessions that he could steal the joy of Christmas.

Come Christmas day the people all came out of their houses and started singing Christmas hymn just like nothing had happened. At that time he realized that Christmas was not about the presents but rather about the celebration of the meaning of Christmas.

I don’t think they ever actually mentioned the word Jesus but we all know the true meaning of Christmas is celebrating the birth of our Savior. And, once he realized that the worldly trappings weren’t what brought true joy, his life was changed and he brought Christmas back to the people of Whoville.

And now we have another “grinch” that is trying to steal Easter from us. The coronavirus has upended just about every part of our daily routine and has suspended life as we know it. We can no longer live as we were just a month ago.

Depending on when you read this column, we are either getting ready to celebrate Easter or have just done so. For many, Easter means getting new clothes and going to church for their biannual visit, or buying Easter baskets with candy and hiding Easter eggs.

But, for Christians, the Easter celebration doesn’t depend on new clothes, candy or Easter egg hunts. All of these things make the holiday a “fun” event but they don’t bring any meaning to why we celebrate Easter – just like Santa Claus is part of celebrating Christmas but has no relevance as to the “why” of the holiday.

Christmas is important to Christians because it marks the birth of our Lord and Savior. But, we have to remember that Christmas without Easter has little meaning. If our Lord had not been cruelly crucified and rose from the grave, then Christmas would just be the celebration of a great religious figure.

But, as Christians, we believe that Jesus did indeed live a life free of sin and died a horrible death so he could rise to conquer death and give us the hope of eternal life. That is what gives us hope and gives Easter meaning – not the “trappings” of the holiday.

This Easter, we may not be able to congregate at a church to celebrate Easter, but we will be worshiping nonetheless the true reason for the holiday – our risen Savior. Just like the Christmas Grinch could not steal Christmas, this Grinch cannot steal Easter.

-Retired Missouri State Representative Kevin Wilson writes a weekly column, Standing In The Gap, for The Neosho Daily News.