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April 19, 2011 > The joy of Easter

The joy of Easter

By Julie Grabowski

Spring whispers its way into winter-chilled bones and plots of earth, urging all to stretch out and blossom in increasing warmth and light. And in this season of rebirth and rejuvenation comes the celebration of Easter, where the joyful cry of the believing heart is "He is risen!"

While Easter is widely marked by bouncing bunnies, hidden eggs, and baskets of goodies, it all began thousands of years ago with a man, an empty tomb, and a promise of eternity.

The story is found in the Bible, in the last chapter of the book of Matthew. Jesus has been sentenced to death by men and leaders who are afraid of him, believing the claim that he is Christ, the Son of God, to be untrue and blasphemous. He is mocked, beaten, and crucified on a cross, and yet for his followers, there is hope; for Jesus had predicted all that would happen to him and the cross was not the end.

His body is laid in a tomb cut out of a rock with a large stone rolled across the entrance. At the request of the chief priests and Pharisees, guards are placed at the tomb and a seal put on the stone. They have heard Jesus say that he will rise after three days and are afraid that his disciples will steal the body and claim the impossible has happened. When the three days pass and two women named Mary are at the tomb, there is a violent earthquake. A bright angel descends from heaven, rolls away the stone and sits on it, then speaks the words that are still rejoiced today: "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said." (Matthew 28:5-6)

Easter is the celebration of a promise fulfilled and atonement made, the joyful assurance that a living God reigns. The resurrection is the triumph over death and sin, creating a way for all mankind to be sanctified through Christ with the promise of eternal life for all who believe in him.

The celebration of Easter is marked by Christians with church services, family meals and spring dresses. In addition, painting eggs and Easter egg hunts are common during this time for believers and non-believers alike. The greater Tri-City area offers several activities over the Easter weekend for all interests.

April 19-22
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Harbor Light Church
4760 Thornton Ave., Fremont
(510) 744-2233
Contemplate the sufferings of Christ with an interactive walk through his final days. Children should be seven years old or above.

Bonnet Parade and Egg Hunt
Saturday, April 23
9 a.m.
Kennedy Park
19501 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward
(510) 317-2302
Led by the Easter Bunny, the Bonnet Parade is for ages 6 and under to display homemade bonnets. Prizes will be awarded for the prettiest, most unusual, and most colorful creations. The egg hunt is for children between ages 3 and 9.

Egg Hunt Extravaganza
Saturday, April 23
9:15 a.m.
Kennedy Community Center
1333 Decoto Rd., Union City
(510) 675-5488
Tickets $10 per child in advance, $13 at the door
This annual event offers egg hunts for four age groups: 0-2, 3-5, 6-7, and 8-10; a mini carnival from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., a bake sale, and Scholastic Book Fair inside the community center. Breakfast is also available for an additional $5.

Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday, April 23
9:30 a.m. - noon
Bridges Community Church
505 Driscoll Rd., Fremont
(510) 651-2030
Gather friends, family, and neighbors to enjoy activities for kids of all ages, including crafts, face painting, cookie decorating, and jump house in addition to a search for 11,000 candy and prize-filled eggs.

Community Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday, April 23
10 a.m.
Easter Sunrise Worship Service
Sunday, April 24
7:30 a.m.
Christ Community Church
1000 S. Park Victoria Dr., Milpitas
(408) 240-7933
Bring one bag of candy per child
Kids ages 2 through 4th grade are invited to an Easter egg hunt, short program, songs, and raffle prizes. Attendees are asked to bring one bag of wrapped candy per child. The church is also holding a 7:30 a.m. outdoor sunrise service on Sunday in addition to services at 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.

The Hunt 2011
Saturday, April 23
1 p.m.
Live Oak Park
4025 Rivermark Pkwy., Santa Clara
(408) 615-2260
Put on by the Beautiful Day Group, this event is one of 20 happening through the organization in various locations. Kids will hunt for over 5,000 eggs in addition to enjoying refreshments, candy, and prizes.

Egg Toss
Sunday, April 24
Noon - 1 p.m.
Hunt for the Golden Egg
2 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(510) 544-2797
Admission: $5 adults, $4 children
On Easter Sunday Ardenwood invites kids of all ages to test their egg handling skills in a good old farm favorite - the egg toss. The team who can toss the farthest without breaking wins. Then the hunt begins for a big golden egg full of prizes for one lucky winner. Admission price covers all available activities at the farm including house tour and train ride.

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