A Boyhood Dakota Easter


dad at easter

As I write this, it will be a Resurrection Sunday tomorrow and Pastor Dewey prompted me to write about an Easter in South Dakota when I was younger. This is happening because I told Pastor Dewey that I have been struggling to contribute much these past months. I have prayed many times asking for guidance. I know God hears my prayers. The problem might very well be that I am not paying enough attention to the evidence so I told pastor Dewey and he prayed for me and told me that God told him that I should write about a South Dakota Easter. So it has been on my mind the past couple days to try to remember some of those long ago days.

I grew up in a loving family living on a farm in northeastern South Dakota. My dad had been the head usher at his church when he was younger and still single. My mother was the organist for the church and they decided to start dating and a couple years later they were married on the 16th of September 1955. It was the start of a wonderful time together that lasted until my father died 1 September, 2014.

My dad loved my mother and they both truly loved their kids. They were to be blessed by God in producing 6 of us siblings. Five of us were born from 1957 to 1962 so they were quite busy with little ones all around and my dad loved to play with us kids and loved to play around some too in the practical joking scheme of things. We had a 4-bedroom home on the farm with two bedrooms on the main floor and two larger bedrooms in the basement. The largest bedroom in the basement became the room for me and my two brothers. My oldest sister got a room by herself upstairs after my youngest brother was old enough to be moved into the same room as my other brother and me.

The Easter memories that I have are some that I still fondly recall. On more than one Easter, early in the morning shortly after the sun would come up, my dad would slam the back door of the house to a really loud “Bang” and then he would holler out, “There he goes!” All of us kids would pile out of our beds and run upstairs to try to catch a glimpse of the Easter bunny as he ran away through the backyard of our home. And of course, we never could catch that sight but we were always all quite eager to peruse though Easter baskets that the Easter bunny had left us!

And even though we never caught sight of that Easter bunny, were were always ready to repeat the effort the next year.  The picture at the start of this article is one of my dad taken after we had returned home from an Easter Sunday sunrise service. It was taken circa 1964 when I was about 4 years old. Church was always a prominent time for my parents and Easter is the culmination of the life of our Lord Jesus the Christ when he died for the sins of all of us. Then on the third day He rose from the dead as it was written in the Scriptures. The whole life of Christ was foretold from the very start to that Good Friday, Resurrection Day, and Ascension Day. My father always wanted his family to remember those days of Christ and the message that Christ gives us. That message is that eternal life is something to be given to us by His grace. And what we need to do is to accept Christ as our Savior, ask Him for the forgiveness of our sins, repent from those sins, and then we have been commanded to proclaim the Gospel to all.

I know I might very well never be able to walk in the same boots as my dad but I still need to work at it regardless. I hope and pray that each and every one that reads this article will have a great and glorious Resurrection Sunday. +++

He is risen

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About David Christenson: He is a lifelong resident of South Dakota, grew up on a farm north of Claremont and attended school in Amherst and Britton, graduating from Britton in 1977. David married Gretchen Tisher in 1984. Gretchen is also a graduate of Britton and teaches math and drama at Britton-Hecla high school. David and Gretchen have two children. Zach is an engineer for Continental Ag in Norfolk, Nebraska and his wife Amanda is a nurse. Margo lives in Denver and works as a Marketing & Outreach coordinator for MyLifeLine.org, a cancer support not-for-profit entity. David started a cow/calf operation in the 1980s and farmed on the family farm after his high school graduation until December of 1994 when he accepted a sales position at the John Deere store in Britton. David left the John Deere sales position in March of 2006 and became a licensed crop insurance agent in May of 2006. David also started a rental business in 2010 and remained in the cattle business until January of 2012. David, age 55, has had some extraordinary circumstances in his life. He was run over by a farm tractor before age 6 and had three heart attacks a few months before turning 40. Then he suffered life threatening injuries a few months after turning 50 in a hit and run incident. David was diagnosed with leukemia in 2012 and skin cancer in 2014. David started writing his recovery experiences on Facebook in December of 2009. Over the next four years those Facebook notes became what would become chapters in his book, “Why Are You Here?” which was published in December of 2013.

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