It doesn’t feel like Easter.

That’s what I told my husband Sunday morning, but we got up, dressed in our Easter best and took our traditional Easter family photos. Except, this time we stood in front of my knock out roses in the front yard, not by the azalea bushes outside of our red brick church house on Gordon Street. I only recall missing one other Easter service and traditional family photo outside the church. My parents left me home that day because I had chicken pox.

It didn’t feel quite like Easter.

The day  — and this year’s photos  — were special for another reason, too. We used the occasion to announce Baby Gove is a girl. Next year, she’ll join us for Easter photos in front of the pink azaleas at our red brick church. How fitting.

We participated in an online service Sunday, singing praises to our Risen Savior from the living room. The high, arched ceilings make for great acoustics. All the while a pot roast bubbled in the crock pot and cobbler sizzled in the oven.

It should have felt like Easter. The only thing missing was a celebration at church with family and friends, but yet I kept waiting for the holiday feeling to arrive.

The guys hunted for plastic eggs indoors as storm clouds loomed. We laughed as they scrambled around, threatening to break things in their race to beat each other for a prize egg. Dad won.

Then we crowded on the couch to watch Andrea Bocelli’s Easter concert live from the Duomo Cathedral in Milan, Italy – where coronavirus has brought a death toll that’s rocked the country. 

The lyrics were in Italian for most of Bocelli’s traditional Holy Week selections, but when he began to sing Amazing Grace in English, I caught a glimpse of Easter. 

Later in the afternoon as I sat behind the piano and, inspired by Bocelli’s powerful performance, played a hymn I wouldn’t normally attempt to sing, the sun began to shine.  I transitioned out of “Down From His Glory” into another favorite, “How Great Thou Art.”

Suddenly, it felt like Easter. 

The real power of the Easter story isn’t in the knowledge of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. What’s worth celebrating is the personal application of His sacrifice for each and everyone of us, and the love, hope and joy to which we now have unlimited access.

That realization, or reminder, is the moment each of us begin to celebrate Easter.

For me, it happened as the lyrics of “Down From His Glory” wafted from my living room toward Heaven: 

Oh, how I love Him, how I adore Him. My breath, my sunshine, my all in all. The great Creator became my Savior and all God’s fullness dwelleth in Him.

Any day, every day, can be Easter when you remember what Jesus did for you.

• Sarah Tarr Gove is news editor of The Blackshear Times. Email her at sgove@theblacksheartimes.com.