“My Unexpected Easter Feast,” Liahona, Mar. 2008, 77–78
Easter was always a special holiday while I was growing up. After church my parents would teach the family a lesson about the Atonement and Resurrection; in the evening we would have a scrumptious feast. Friends often joined us for dinner, which was both joyous and delicious. Because of these traditions, Easter became my favorite holiday—a sacred family time to celebrate the Resurrection of the Savior.
One year while studying in London, I found myself alone on Easter. My ward did not meet until late afternoon, so the morning stretched before me. I thought of my family, miles away, celebrating the day without me, and my heart felt empty and sad.
At first I wanted to indulge in self-pity, but then I began to wonder what I could do to make the day meaningful. My mind turned to the people I passed daily in the crowded subways. As in many big cities, the subways often sheltered homeless men and women needing a handout. My heart had often been touched by their need, and I realized that I wasn’t the only one in London spending Easter alone. Helping strangers suddenly seemed like a good way to show my gratitude for the wonderful Easters I had enjoyed as a child.
I made several sack lunches containing sandwiches, fruit, crackers, and drinks. Then I headed to the subway, searching out the people I had sometimes avoided. Most were truly grateful for the food. To each I said, “Happy Easter!”
When I had one lunch left, I came upon a man who looked particularly downtrodden. His clothes were filthy, his face was lined with suffering, and his eyes held deep sorrow. As I offered him the lunch, he looked up at me in surprise.
“What is this?” he asked.
“It’s lunch, sir,” I replied.
“Thank you, thank you very much,” he said. His expression suddenly changed to one of joy and gratitude. He clutched the sack eagerly, holding it as if it were a precious treasure.
“You’re welcome,” I said, touched by the look on his face. “Happy Easter, sir.”
“Happy Easter!” he replied.
As I walked home, the words of King Benjamin came to my mind: “For behold, are we not all beggars?” (Mosiah 4:19). I realized that without the Savior, all of us would be cast out, downtrodden, and left alone. But the Savior reaches out to us and offers us something we want desperately: the hope that we can be pure, that we will live again, and that we will return to Him someday.
Faced with sin and death, I also stand before the Savior as a beggar. He reaches out to me, offering mercy. Someday when I stand before Him, my face will register profound gratitude, which I had glimpsed, in small part, on the face of this humble man.
Walking home, I began to weep. My loneliness was gone, replaced with joy and a deeper understanding of King Benjamin’s words and the Savior’s mercy. I silently thanked the Lord for this man’s unexpected gift to me. I had offered him a simple lunch; he had returned to me a true Easter feast.