Ham. Hats. Family photos. A new dress. Pastel colors. Bunnies. Baby chicks. Brightly colored eggs. Special church services. Baskets toppling over with goodies.
These are just a few ways that we celebrate Easter in America. My earliest memories of the holiday are of getting a special new dress, often with a matching hat and gloves. My mom and dad would go to church with us and then we’d go to my grandma’s for a special dinner with all the family. Perhaps you grew up celebrating in the same way?
All of the things I listed above are commonplace in most of the churches that you will go to on Easter Sunday. You may even already be planning for it. Buying your egg dye and shopping for matching outfits for the kids (or in my case, color coordinating clothes for me, Chas, and NGD).
What I find interesting is that you may also find these celebrations outside of the church as well. There are a lot of people who don’t go to church who may be celebrating in much the same way. Special dinners with family and new clothes. They may even have an egg hunt.
The difference is that those of us who go to church first will hear the Truth before we go have our ham dinner and watch the kids run around the yard seeking their goodies. Some may even hunt for Resurrection Eggs (special plastic eggs that contain items pertaining to the Passion of Christ) instead of the traditional colored hard boiled ones.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing these festivities. Whereas most of them do have their beginnings in paganism, there are many who still celebrate in this way with the best of intentions. If your kids are counting down the days until the Easter Bunny visits, please do not feel condemnation here. You haven’t doomed your children to the fires of hell simply by buying them a hollow chocolate bunny.
However, I would like to ask you to think about a few things this Easter season:
1.) Mind – What are you thinking about as this holiday approaches? Are you consumed with dressing up your kids in adorable outfits? Are you thinking about the perfect side dish to take to your in-laws for Easter dinner? Are you thinking about what you are going to fill up your littles’ baskets with?
Instead of being consumed with this part of the holiday, spend a little time in the Word and read about Jesus. It only takes a few minutes to read the last week of Jesus’ life in most of the gospels. Only a few more to read it from each of the gospels. Look to God’s Holy Word and see what He has new for you this Easter. And then share it.
2.) Heart – Where is your heart concerning Easter? Do you look at it as just another holiday on the calendar? Is it something special?
Spend some time as Easter approaches and think about the resurrection in your own life. Think about Jesus dying on the cross for YOU, but don’t forget the victorious nature of His resurrection.
3.) Soul – Do you know Jesus? Know Him personally? Do you know Him as Savior? Does his resurrection fill you with hope?
If you don’t know Jesus personally then this is a great time to meet Him. If you do, then you may want to take some time and assess your spiritual life. Are you living an abundant life in the victory of Jesus’ resurrection or are you just barely getting by?
4.) Strength – How are you worshipping? Are you merely going to church because that’s what you do on Easter? Or are you actually going to celebrate the victory of the resurrection?
We’re blessed every day that we draw breath. So, what are you doing with that breath? Every moment we should be glorifying God. Don’t waste the day with the busyness of tasks that don’t do that.
5.) Grace – None of us are getting this perfect. And Jesus didn’t die to condemn us but to give us life. Ultimately, He is what’s it’s all about. That’s what we have to keep in perspective. So, no matter what you do to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, just keep it about Him. Remember to give yourself grace for your failings and to give other’s grace, too. We’re all just trying to do the best we can wherever we are in this walk of faith.
Now it’s your turn. What does Easter mean to you? How do you celebrate? Don’t forget to head over to Mrs. Disciple and check out what everyone else is saying about this special holiday.