Some five thousand years ago, a theretofore obscure and unlikely prophet led an entire race of people out of slavery and into a new land where they could live in freedom. About three thousand years later, a similarly unlikely young prophet, descended from those same former slaves, was put to death in Roman-occupied Palestine during (or right before) the feast that commemorated his ancestors' delivery from slavery. Something out of the ordinary happened three days after that young man's death. They say he came back and reassured his friends that something better waited for them on the other side.
Saint Paul wrote that if the Resurrection did not really happen, then Christians are to be pitied above all men (I Corinthians 15:19). For they believe in something preposterously unlikely, insanely optimistic, and crazily hopeful.
I have a little lilac bush that grows at the side of my house. It's a sad little bush, really, because it's bent and twisted, and it grows in an odd direction. But I watch it all winter long, and I count the days until it bursts into purple blooms. Then, for a week or so, my entire yard is filled with the world's most exquisite fragrance. It is the smell of spring, which brings with it the memories of the crazy, hopeful stories of my childhood. I pass those stories down to my children now, not because I believe them categorically to be true, but because I want my children to grow up in freedom and hope, well-grounded in the faith of their forefathers, prepared to meet the future with kindness and charity.
I wish you a happy Passover and a blessed Easter, and a spring full of possibility and joy.