Easter. No gifts for adults. No pumpkin pie. No twinkle lights upon the tree.
And yet, it is my absolute favorite holiday. As Easter approaches, my heart fills with the joy that Christmas magic brings to children each year. Though the week will be extremely busy, I anxiously anticipate Holy Week for a couple of reasons.
You see, first, it is the one time of the year where I feel like the church really acts like the family they should be. Our focus turns to the One who should have our focus constantly and we are reminded of the reason we all gather in the first place - because of the love of Christ. Second, because of that focus, there is a beautiful reverence we sometimes lack throughout the year.
Yes, Christmas does the same thing on a certain level. However, do to the demands of the world, everyone is busy, rushing around like ants at a picnic. During Christmas, church is usually reserved for Christmas Eve.
For some churches, this may also be true at Easter - a lot of rushing around for a big service on Easter Sunday. But our church does things differently this time of year.
It starts Maundy Thursday as we gather for the Sader Meal and foot washing. Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of foot washing. However, it serves a significant purpose - a reminder of how we are to be a servant for all, just as Christ has been for us. My favorite part of the evening is the Sader Meal - a brief glimpse at the history and tradition that our Savior personally participated in!! Though we have been attending this service for years (both now and at the church I grew up in) - I still love talking about the significance that each piece of the meal represents. Everything they did was intentional. When did we lose that!?! I am so excited to share this tradition with Little Miss when she is a bit older, to teach her how significant the reverence of the night is as we conclude with a candle light service.
Then Good Friday arrives. This night holds special significance for me personally. Our church goes to a production of the Easter story each year....an hour north at the church I grew up in, the church where I accepted Christ as my Savior and was first welcomed, wholeheartedly, into the family of God. It is the one time of the year that I have two of my church families together in one place. And my heart soars because of that. It reminds me that one day we will all be together again, in one place, worshipping the Lord.
The retelling of the Easter story never gets old for me either. Though I have seen and participated in the same play for years and years....and years....it still reminds me of the sacrifice Christ made for us - that because of His scars I am free!!! And as Little Miss grows, I cannot wait to tell her about all the behind-the-scenes shenanigans, about why I was brought to tears on that very stage, and about how THIS story is HER story - that Christ went through all of that (and more) so that SHE could have freedom and eternal life with Him. This year, I imagine the animals will be the highlight. And she will love the children and the singing. But as each year passes, she will understand more and more.
And last, but not least, comes Easter Sunday. We have two services with breakfast between. Since each service is different, we attend both - we never want to miss an opportunity to worship the Lord as one body. I am glad, however, that the first service is no longer at sunrise. That means I get plenty of beauty sleep and I get to enjoy extra time in the house of the Lord. There is just something different in the air on Easter morning - maybe it is just my heart. But there is a reverence, a joy, a heightened awareness of the Spirit that all too often goes unnoticed.
So I guess in conclusion, Easter is my favorite because it gives me a glimpse of what it will be like one glorious day. The Church will come together as a whole - united as one. We will forever and always be reverent and joyful in the light of His glory and grace. And we will never forget, even for a moment, the Greatest Story Ever Told, we will never forget just how much He loves us.
When Easter comes around each year, I feel like we remember all of that, if only for a moment. We worship together as one, there is reverence and awe and recognition of who He is.
Wouldn't it be great if every Sunday were like that?
The choice is mine.