Column: In some parts of the world, Easter comes in the fall


The earth has started its springtime awakening. As she stretches and yawns from her winter slumber, whispers of green have begun to color the landscape and the excited voices of long sleeping creatures reverberate through the air. After the long dark days of Lent, we are ready for the growing hours of daylight and the promise of what is to be. Spring is the perfect time for Easter; a time of birth, of hope, of promise and for the assurance of the resurrection.

But not all the world experiences Easter as we do. If you go south of the equator the seasons are reversed, and so while we here in Stillwater anticipate the new life and possibility of springtime, others are now experiencing the autumn of their year. They are witnessing the dying off of life and the retreat of animals to their sanctuaries of winter sleep. Easter there is experienced in a whole different context than what we are used to here in the northern hemisphere.

All our familiar images of new life don’t easily fit in a season that is turning to slumber and dying. In the far south, when trees give up their leaves and their greens turn to brown, the familiar promises of springtime surrender to the realities of endings and death.

Easter in springtime is deeply meaningful, but I’ve been wondering if the meaning of the Easter promise is most fully realized in the autumnal moments of our lives. Though the image of an autumn Easter may seem foreign to us, isn’t it in the season of dying that we experience most completely the true meaning of Easter? Isn’t it in the autumn moments of our lives that the immense joy that is felt at an empty tomb is greatest?

Mary and the disciples came to the tomb in the midst of an autumn experience, expecting to find nothing but darkness, but instead they found promise and hope in the light of the resurrection. And like them, God comes into the autumns of our lives with a springtime promise through the death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is in an empty tomb that we find our despair has been turned to hope, our suffering to peace, our anguish into comfort, our darkness into light, our death into life, our autumns into spring.

May the Easter promise of God’s love and light fill you with hope in all the seasons of your life!

Karri Anderson is the interim associate pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater.