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Even Then

An Easter Story

There had never been any Easter eggs for Emily.  Her father had died when she was only a baby, and she and her older sister, Hannah, were being raised by their mother.  Money had always been in short supply in their humble apartment, and Hannah had never made a fuss about Easter eggs.  So Mother had used the few pennies she had in her purse to buy a little chocolate bunny for each of the girls.

But this year, during the days before Easter, Emily’s friends at school were all talking about coloring eggs and then finding them on Easter morning after the Easter Bunny had come during the night and hidden them.  Emily wished more than anything that she and Hannah could color eggs on Saturday, the day before Easter.

“Please, Jesus, have the Easter Bunny hide some of our eggs here in our apartment Saturday night.”

“What’s this all about?” Mother asked, surprised by this sudden request while Emily was saying her bedtime prayers.

“Easter eggs!” Emily answered excitedly.  “Don’t you know that the Easter Bunny hides colored eggs in the homes of good boys and girls on Easter eve?”

“Well, yes, I know about that all right.  But you and Hannah have always gotten candy bunnies.”

“Yes, but this Easter couldn’t we buy some eggs for us to color on Saturday afternoon?  Couldn’t we PLEEZE, Mom?”

“Oh, I suppose so,” Mother answered.  “But there won’t be any candy bunnies.”

“That’s OK,” Emily answered with a big smile.  “I’d rather have the eggs.”

And so, Saturday morning, Mother sent Hannah to the store to buy a dozen eggs.  But when Hannah returned she was crying bitterly.

“What’s happened?” Mother asked in alarm, noticing the big scrapes on Hannah’s knees.

“I fell on the way home and landed right on the carton of eggs.  Every one is broken!”

“Hannah, how COULD you?” Emily cried, tears squirting from her eyes.

“Emily!” Mother scolded.  “Is that all you care about is a few eggs?  Can’t you see that Hannah’s been hurt?”

Emily immediately felt guilty and selfish.

“I’m sorry, Hannah,” she said through her tears.  “Maybe the Easter Bunny will bring his OWN eggs Easter morning.”

“No, that isn’t how it works,” Mother snapped.  “Hannah, come into the kitchen.  We’ll get those scrapes cleaned up.”

That night while she was saying her bedtime prayers, Emily secretly said a little prayer to Jesus.  She prayed that the Easter Bunny would hide some of his OWN eggs the night before Easter morning, even though Mother had said that he always used the ones colored by children on Easter eve.

The next morning Emily was awake early.  She crept around the apartment, looking in all the likely hiding places.  But there were no eggs anywhere.

“I must have been naughty,” she muttered to herself.  “Maybe it’s because I was so mean to Hannah.”

“Open the curtains, would you?” Hannah asked sleepily.

Emily pulled the curtain cord, and as the curtains parted, a beautiful shaft of light filled the room.  She looked out of their third story window, into the top of a tree growing outside.  And then she gave a shriek.  For there, nestled in the crotch of the tree, was a nest with three beautiful, tiny blue eggs in it!

Mother came rushing into the bedroom and asked what was wrong.

“Look, Mummy, look!” Emily cried, pointing out of the window.  “It’s the Easter eggs I prayed for last night.”

“You prayed for eggs last night?” Mother asked.

“Yes, I prayed in my mind to Jesus.  And he forgave me for being mean to Hannah, and he answered my prayer!”

“Jesus always answers our prayers on Easter,” Hannah said in a sleepy voice.

“Even if we’ve been naughty?” Emily marveled.

Mother smiled and kissed her on the top of her head.

“Even then,” she softly  affirmed.  “Even then.”