Marshmallow Peeps are the epitome of dietary emptiness – pure sugar, whipped into a fluffy puff, then dipped in more sugar. Confection perfection! Peeps are my favorite Easter candy, and they cap off The Season of Eating that starts in late September and sweetly saunters on for the next six months. Halloween . . . Thanksgiving . . . Christmas . . . Valentines . . . and finally Easter. And candy is at the heart of it all! Those empty, barren calories with no nutritional value. The more we eat, the more we want. The Fattening Five offer an uninterrupted stream of dietary nothingness . . . and I love every minute of it, especially Easter, because we save the best candy for last.
Halloween candy impresses due to sheer volume, but the good stuff is gone too quickly, that is, if the trick-or-treaters even get it. If I am guarding the candy bowl, you can be sure the good stuff goes in my bag, but before Thanksgiving arrives, we are picking through the last of the candy-corn and Dum-Dums. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving is a bit of a bust on the candy front, but thankfully, chocolate Santas start hitting the shelves. And if all else fails, pumpkin pie satisfies in a pinch.
Christmas and Valentine’s Day candy are much better than Halloween candy, but they fall short of perfection for one simple reason: gotcha candies from those fancy gift boxes. When I bite into a chocolate, I should not be surprised, much less with raspberry crème. All the leftover candies with small exploratory dents or bites are an annual public health hazard. There should be a Surgeon General’s warning on any so-called chocolate with crème filling. We might as well fill them with ribbon candy.
But Easter candy, simply the best! Almost all of it has chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, or marshmallow in it. Amazing Peeps, giant Reese’s Eggs, chocolate covered marshmallow bunnies, and the mysterious Cadbury fluid, and who knew that MM’s taste better in pastels? The only way it could get any better is with it all combined into some sort of chocolate bunny dipped in sugar. As a matter of fact, the worst candy Easter has to offer is the colorful jelly bean. Not too shabby, Mr. Easter Bunny.
Next week, after I eat the last jellybeans and marshmallow chicks, I will be sad to see The Season of Eating end. I will not only miss the sweets, but I will also need to shed five pounds and to recuperate from six months of shameful, regretful calories. But that is not the only emptiness Easter has to offer, for it is the emptiest holiday of all!
The most amazing emptiness in history occurs on Easter: the empty tomb, from which broken and ashamed people have emerged forgiven and repurposed for two-thousand years. In its emptiness, we discover fullness of joy and redemption. For just like Easter candy, Christ also saves the best for last, sometimes following our darkest despair. On that spring morn so long ago, He conquered death and the grave, forever exchanging our heavy sorrow for the joyful emptiness of His tomb. So, no matter where you are or what you are dealing with, let Easter remind you that He always saves the best for last, and transforms sorrow to joy. Unlike the empty Easter candy we love so much, however, the emptiness of Easter fills us with joy unspeakable and full of glory.