The Easter Gift From My Jewish Friend

by Candace Arthuria Williams

Yesterday, there was a bright green plastic bag sticking out of my mailbox. Naturally, I opened it with caution. It is sad that we are living in a time when packages are eyed with suspicion, and surprises are as welcome as the treacherous Trojan horse. I hoped a little TLC might defuse whatever was inside. As I peered through the cellophane wrap with the pretty pink bow, there was a wicker tray with assorted cookies of various shapes and sizes. On top was a floral envelope daintily displaying an array of spring colors. The card was as bright and beautiful. What a wonderful Easter gift from my neighbor, Joan.

When I was young, all church-going girls got new outfits—dresses in the colors of Joan’s cookies, Easter bonnets, and patent leather shoes with matching bags. I was oblivious to the fact that others were too poor to afford these things. We dyed and decorated hard-boiled eggs, although I didn’t quite understand why. It is only in my maturity that I have come to question these traditions. How many times did I stay up past midnight watching The Ten Commandments? Given my Christian background, somebody might have told me that despite the cinematic splendor, that movie is not about Easter. It commemorates the Jewish Passover and exodus from Egypt. Why do we follow Hollywood dictums like mindless sheep without any capacity for discernment? There is but one Sacrificial Lamb who willingly went to the slaughter that those who believe would receive eternal life. That is the ultimate gift. His victory over the grave is the reason we celebrate Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, as it has come to be known today.

I called Joan to say “thank you” and express my very best wishes that her family would enjoy a happy Passover. Maybe she’ll watch the movie, which I will catch at some other time. So what should command our attention—The Red Sea or The Cross? I like to think that it’s both. Surely the day is coming when differences cease to exist. That spirit is captured succinctly in the refrain of a timeless hymn, We Will Understand It Better By and By.

In the meantime, I will borrow from Dickens’ Tiny Tim. I know. Wrong holiday. Wrong season. But just the same, an imperfect, disabled boy found the faith to articulate a universal prayer. “God bless us every one.”


Candace Arthuria Williams began her career in Corporate Communications and currently writes short fiction, essays, and poetry. Her work is multi-cultural, inter-generational, and expands across a broad range of genres. During the pandemic, Candace completed a diverse collection entitled “Very Short Stories for Very Busy People.” Her objective is to capture readers’ imaginations without consuming too much of their time. She has published with the International Women’s Writing Guild, the Teaneck Public Library Archives, Friday Flash FictionAgape Review, and has work forthcoming in Calliope.

4 thoughts on “The Easter Gift From My Jewish Friend

  1. My memories of Easter was getting a brand new outfit & our Jamaican tradition eating bun and cheese.
    Of course watching the 10 Commandements
    was the highlight.
    I know understand how “Passover” ties in with Easter. Thank you for reminding us Candace that Jesus became the Sacrificial Lamb. If we believe and accepted Him as our Lord and Saviour, His Blood will be on the door post of our hearts.
    Thank you for a beautiful story that was so vivid. Loved the humor.
    Right on time.

    Like

  2. Candace,

    I love how your words captured a hidden memory of yesterday. I had a similar Christian upbringing. Oftentimes, confused and bewildered by the phenomena of Easter. What was it? What is the back story of Easter Egg Hunts? I was not a lover of hard-boiled eggs. Irrespective of how elegantly they were painted and displayed.

    I chuckled at being baffled at how the Ten Commandments were tangentially aligned with Easter.

    Thank you for shining a light on what is truly important. Also, I appreciate the joyful memories.

    Like

  3. I have some of the same memories of Easter. I enjoyed the new Easter clothes, shoes, candy, coloring Easter eggs and looked at the 10 Commandments. As a Christian, we celebrated Easter as the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Families also enjoyed seeing their children act in plays at Church regarding the Resurrection.

    Great story, Candace!

    Like

  4. You are so right, Candace. Both the Red Sea and The Cross should command our attention, and “Surely the day is coming when differences cease to exist.” Men and women of Christian and Jewish faiths have been risking their lives to save each other throughout history. Each of us has a role to play until that glorious day comes–and Scripture tells us it will.

    The world just commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27, 2022), yet we see the persecution of Christian and Jewish believers still growing worldwide. Thank you for a beautiful story that is right on time, lest we forget.

    Like

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