Every year around this time the stores are filled with candy, baskets, and stuffed bunnies galore. They aren’t usually hidden for us to find; instead, they are often in your face as soon as you enter the store.

It is no secret that our world is full of secular holidays to fill our time and drain our bank accounts. But why do we feel the need to fill up baskets to suffice for a holiday that really is a reverent one full of joy and hope because of the free gift given to each of us through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

As a Christian, the true story of Easter holds a huge significance in our lives and serves as a cornerstone of our faith. The events that took place over those few days roughly 2,000 years ago lie at the heart of Christianity.

I do not deserve the selfless sacrifice that Jesus made, but He was willing to lay down his life for all of us, paying the ultimate price for the forgiveness of our sins. Three days later he rose in victory over sin and death, offering hope and eternal life to those who believe and are called by him.

Baskets filled with colored bunnies and Peeps and peanut butter-filled eggs will never be able to embody the true meaning of God’s boundless love and mercy shown to us. Despite all our shortcomings and failures, God demonstrated His love by sending His only Son for us.

Take this time to reflect and show gratitude for the incredible, undeserved gift of salvation. Let it serve as a reminder of the depth of God’s love and the extent in which He was willing to go to redeem us.

Let this time also remind you that even amid life’s challenges, we can place our trust in God and live in confidence, knowing that nothing can separate us from His love.

We may struggle – I do myself. We aren’t perfect and we will make mistakes. But remember to share the same grace and mercy shown to you even in your darkest moments. God walks with us in the good times and in the bad.

I pray this Easter you hear a message of hope. I pray that you know that you are never too far gone from the love of God. I pray that your faith is strengthened and that you are surrounded by those who would point you to the love of Christ and know that there is no time like the present.

Be Blessed!

Ashley Carter is a wife, mother, and grandmother living in Elmore County, where she and her husband run Farm to Table Living and Carter Farms. She is the author of "Unexplainable: Inspirational Stories of God's Love in the Most Unique Ways." Ashley serves as Controller and Executive Assistant at 1819 News. To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email ashley.carter@1819news.com.

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