This Easter Monday reflection comes to us from our friend Chad Bird.

This is the annual time of year some Christians roll their eyes as they tsk-tsk over eggs and bunnies smothering the real meaning of Easter.

I beg to differ. If anyone needs to roll his eyes, it’s God as he sees some of his followers more interested in heaven than he is.

Easter is God’s great affirmation of the earth and all it contains. The day when God says Yes to chocolate eggs and white bunnies, little girls’ pretty dresses and elaborate family dinners, trumpeting lilies and bodies of flesh and blood.

Easter is the day when God kneels down, kisses the earth, and says, “This is my soil. This is my creation. Not only is it still good, but I will make it even better.”

The religion of Jesus is a worldly religion. A faith of this world, this planet, not some ethereal realm where souls string hammocks between clouds. It is a religion of skin and bones, mountains, flowers, and overflowing dessert tables.

When Jesus rose from the dead on Easter, the Father was saying, “Now everything is done. Humanity’s wrongs are paid for. Their souls and bodies are redeemed. Indeed, all creation is redeemed.” When the time is right, our Father will transform this old creation into a new one, fully purged of all evil, where—as Tolkien said—everything sad will come untrue.

We wait now in the parenthesis between Easter and the Last Day. But it won’t last forever. This earth awaits its re-genesis by God. On this renewed, spinning globe we will live unto ages of ages—not in heaven, not as bodiless spirits, but here as people with breathing lungs and beating hearts.

As surely as the resurrected Jesus stood, feet in the dirt, fully human, eating fish, and talking with his friends on the seashore, so we shall stand on the day of final resurrection as fully human, on a perfect earth, feasting and talking with our friends.

In this new creation, while the wolf and the lamb graze together, while a nursing child plays by the den of a cobra, maybe that bunny will hop past us. After we wine and dine on the lavish mountaintop banquet prepared by God, we’ll have chocolate for dessert (and pecan pie, too, I hope!). Little girls will spin around in white dresses and lilies will trumpet their beauty in the green grass.

And God will smile and laugh with his creation, even as he smiles and laughs this Easter. Jesus left the tomb to embrace the earth. He came forth to say Yes to this world, to our bodies, to wine and chocolate and Bach and Michelangelo.

He didn’t simply vacate the tomb to end death. He brought up from that grave the seeds of a brand new start at life. Genesis 1 all over again, with no chance of Genesis 3.

Easter is Earth day, this world’s chance to party with the God who made it, to feast on the promise of the good life to come when “according to his promise, we are looking for a new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells,” (2 Peter 3:13).

So this Easter season enjoy your chocolate. Dance in your pretty white dress. Dye your eggs and laugh with delight at the Easter bunny. Enjoy this world. Kiss the earth. For this world, in a remade and renewed state, will be our home for all eternity. We will stand upon it in bodies that mirror our Lord’s. We will wine and dine upon it in parties that have no end.

All because of Easter. All because the Creator who died came to life again, that all may have life in him.