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Jeff DeLoach

When I was a child, Easter always meant another opportunity for fellowship with family. We would make the trip across town to Grandmother's for lunch. This was after starting the morning by putting on the new clothes Mom had bought us to wear to church on Easter morning. As kids, my brother and I always hated having to wear the new "dress-up clothes," not to mention all of the pictures we had to pose for. I know many of you can relate to what I am saying and have the pictures to prove it. Many of you will be doing what your parents did to you with your children today. Traditions are great!

Easter has carried a deeper meaning for me ever since I understood and accepted the real meaning of what the day represents. It represents the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ three days after surrendering his life for us on the cross. The Scriptures teach us that Jesus, the son of God, had to suffer death but then rose from the dead on the third day for us to be given the opportunity for forgiveness of our sins.

We see these recorded words of Jesus in Luke 24:44-48, when he appeared to the disciples in Jerusalem after rising from his death on the cross. He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms." Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things."

Life here on Earth carries many opportunities for stress, anxiety, fearfulness and worry. While I have been told the Bible contains 365 verses telling us not to worry, we all still spend some amount of time in worry. We are to give our concerns and worry over to the Lord. Knowing that Christ rose from the dead gives us the ability to have faith in him so we can live our life here on Earth in as much of a worry-free manner as possible.

That oft-quoted verse John 3:16 tells us, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." This is true because Jesus did rise from the dead on the third day (Easter, which we celebrate today). His death on the cross represents the payment for our sins if we turn to him for forgiveness. Knowing of this opportunity for life with Jesus after death helps us put things here on Earth into perspective and helps us deal successfully with life's everyday challenges that create worry and unhappiness.

Elsewhere in today's newspaper is a special section that helps relate the real meaning of Easter and offers you and your family another way to gather to share the story of the Resurrection of Christ. We hope you enjoy the publication, and we want to sincerely thank the businesses and organizations that sponsored it, enabling us to bring it into your home today.

To those who mark the day as we do, we wish you a blessed and enjoyable Easter.

We recognize that not all of our readers celebrate this day as our family does and that we have readers of a variety of faith and cultural traditions. We are thankful for all our subscribers, are truly grateful that you've made us a part of your lives for so many years and hope all of you enjoy a special day with your family.

Jeff Deloach is president of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Contact him at jdeloach@timesfreepress.com.

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