Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Why Easter is my Favorite Holiday

Easter, Church, Family, Tradition, Sader Meal, Communion, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Crucifixion, Reverence, Worship, One Body

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.

Easter, Church, Family, Tradition, Sader Meal, Communion, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Crucifixion, Reverence, Worship, One Body

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.

Easter, Church, Family, Tradition, Sader Meal, Communion, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Crucifixion, Reverence, Worship, One Body

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.  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

We Have Been Married for FIVE Years!!

5 years.

I have been married for FIVE years!

It is absolutely unreal.

Yesterday morning at breakfast we were talking about how different our life looks now.  And how it probably isn't exactly what we imagined 5 years ago.  On the not-meeting-par side of things, I definitely thought we would have more money.  And neither of us ever imagined we would live in a town smaller than where we grew up.  I probably thought we would have at least one more kid but I'm sure Hubby thought we wouldn't even have Miss A yet.  haha.  I saw myself not working at all (possibly volunteering, but not working).  On that note, I NEVER, EVER thought I would be teaching sex ed (yikes!).  And I definitely pictured a house with pictures on the walls (currently, the only room we have decorated is the nursery...and it is super cute!).  

But there are so many things that are better than we could have ever imagined.  Having all of my family in one place (one house in fact) is super unexpected (especially the addition of a sister-in-law).  We both love the jobs that we have - especially because I'm getting paid to work at a place where I very easily could have ended up volunteering!  I never thought I would enjoy talking to junior high and high school students about sexual integrity - but every time I leave that classroom, I am glowing from the inside out.  God somehow managed to allow me to have my dream job (behind the scenes at a non-profit) AND allowed me to be a *mostly* stay-at-home mom.  But more importantly, we absolutely love being parents - more than I ever thought possible.  I think that is the biggest unexpected curve ball - how much you love your kids.  Even if I had known 5 years ago that she would be a reality today, I couldn't have anticipated the joy that overflows from my heart as I kiss her goodnight.  5 years ago, I could have never dreamt up the journey that brought Hubby and I here today.  I have seen us both grow in phenomenal ways - usually by looking back. 

God brought us together.  He brought us here.  I'm sure he had a good laugh at our 5 year "plans."  What He gave us was so much better than what we ever asked for, so much better than we ever imagined.  I can't wait to see where the next 5 years takes us.

So with that being said....here's a fun guess:

In 5 years we will have at least 2 more kids (maybe more).

We will have finished our bedroom suite and painted every wall in this house.

I will be homeschooling Miss A.  Or unschooling.  Maybe.

My walls will be decorated.....maybe......

We still won't get the whole "parenting" thing but we will love it and have fun in the middle of the mess.

Justin and I will be growing even more.  Closer together, closer to God.

Outside of those hypothetical ponderings - only God can know.

But I can't wait to see what He has in store.

So far, so beyond good.