April 1 was a momentous day for my family. My daughter gave birth to identical triplets. My son went skydiving while riding a unicycle. My youngest called to say he is pursuing a career in synchronized swimming. Each of these bits of news was followed by, “Happy April Fool’s Day.”
Well, here are a couple of the greatest April fools pranks ever. April 1, 1962. The broadcasting technician for Sweden’s lone television station appears on the news to announce that, thanks to new technology, viewers can convert their black-and-white broadcasts into colour. They just need to pull a nylon stocking over their TV screens. Thousands try it. April 1, 1974. Residents of Sitka, Alaska, awake to see clouds of black smoke billowing from the crater of Mount Edgecumbe, the long-dormant volcano on the edge of town. People spill into the streets to gaze at the smoldering volcano, terrified that it is active again and might soon erupt. Thankfully man, not nature, is responsible. A local prankster Porky Bickar had flown hundreds of old tires into the volcano’s crater and lit them on fire. Please don’t try this at home. Six years later, when Montana’s Mount St. Helens erupts, a Sitka, Alaska resident writes to Bickar telling him, “This time you’ve gone too far!”
Well, in 2018, for the first time since 1956, we celebrated Easter on April Fool’s Day. Some believe that this is fitting, that on a day devoted to hoaxes, we celebrate the most colossal hoax of all: the resurrection of Jesus. I respectfully disagree, along with an endless host of people who have found life and truth in the resurrected Jesus.
C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel all sought to disprove the claims of Christianity, but found the evidence of the resurrection so compelling that they became devoted followers of Jesus. Saul of Tarsus set out to destroy the early church until he met the resurrected Christ. Listen to what he says in 1 Corinthians 15: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day…and that He appeared to Cephas, and then to the 12…[then] to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living…Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all He appeared to me.” Because Jesus lives, we can live today with purpose and joy – and a little laughter too.
Turns out I’m not a grandfather to triplets. And I’m not likely to hear this news on Easter Sunday. You see, the next time Easter falls on April 1, my kids will be in their 40s.