I was born one kind and then became another.
That’s what you often hear on April 1 when someone’s pulled a prank on you or took advantage of your naivety by making some preposterous statement. And, it’s usually done in good fun where everyone (hopefully) has a good laugh.
Having been born on April 1st, I grew up always being ribbed about being born on that day. I still remember someone putting a whoopee cushion in my seat a school one year on that day, laughing uncontrollably when I became everyone’s center-of-attention and crying, “April Fool’s! Happy birthday!”
Thankfully, I learned to not take those things seriously and to even dish it out with the best of them. In fact, when I’d tell someone my birthdate, they’d sometimes laugh and say, “Now I know why you’re the way you are!” And, I’d say “Yea, when I was born my parents left me in the hospital and moved off with no forwarding address!”
Years ago I tried to find out where this term and tradition originated, but no one seems to know. It seems different cultures observe it in different ways; however, the most feasible one seems to point to the ancient Romans and Hindus who celebrated New Year’s Day on April 1. This closely followed the Spring equinox (March 20 or 21), which ushered in the beginning of Spring.
But, then the Gregorian calendar changed New Year’s Day to Jan. 1, but there were still folks who preferred celebrating it on April 1st. That’s why they were called “April Fools.”
While that sounds pretty logical to me, there’s still no way to prove it; so I tell folks I always celebrate the New Year on April 1st because it’s my birthday! And, we’ll have a good laugh and maybe talk about some pranks we played or facetious stories we told.
It’s interesting that April Fool’s Day falls on Easter Sunday this year. This is the first time since 1956 and won’t happen again until 2029. So, I’m going to take advantage of it and preach on “Are You an Easter Fool?” that morning.
While it’s a catchy title and interesting way to tell the Easter story, in reality it’s quite relevant in this day-and-age of atheism, agnosticism, secularism, etc. Yes, nowadays if you tell someone you’re a Christian and believe the Bible, they quite possibly will look at you with a stare or shocked look and say “What planet did you come from?” Some will even become quite aggressive, lambasting you for such foolish beliefs.
But, I’ve learned not to argue with them; instead, I look at them and say “That’s okay. By birth, I’m an April Fool — and by the Second Birth I’m an Easter Fool!” Then, I begin telling them why.
I’ll give my testimony of how I was abandoned by my parents and then adopted into an abusive, dysfunctional home. I’ll tell them how I felt lonely and unloved UNTIL Jesus came to live within my heart at the age of seven. Then, if they’re still listening, I’ll give them an overview of how He’s used me through the years and how thankful I am for loving me enough to die for me on the Cross and then be raised from the dead so I can have eternal Hope.
If they’re still interested, I might even make this statement: “You know I’d rather be a fool FOR Christ than a fool WITHOUT Him. Jesus has radically changed my life, given me meaning and purpose — and I know when I leave this ‘ole world that I’ll immediately go to live with Him forever in that beautiful place called Heaven. Do you also have that same Hope?”
Sometimes they’re receptive; sometimes they’re not.
But, that’s okay. I’m still glad to be an “Easter Fool” and am thankful, as the Gaither song says, that “I can face tomorrow because He lives.” Hallelujah!!
Here’s praying you’ll have a good April Fool’s Day and celebrate it by being in church with your family, singing songs like “Up From the Grave He Arose” or “He Lives.” Then, I hope you’ll live the rest of your life with that Resurrection Hope — for that’s what makes life worth the living. God bless you.
NOTE: If you’d like to contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” you can write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.