Easter as a child—I remember Easter baskets, corsages, and matching dresses. I’d wake up on Easter morning and fly downstairs to find three brightly-wrapped Easter baskets waiting on the hearth—one for my sister, my brother, and me. A solid chocolate bunny always stood up in the middle, and my mom, sister, and I wore corsages to church on our matching dresses—dresses sewn by my mom’s loving hands.
During my teen years, Easter lost its pizzazz. No more fancy dresses or brightly-wrapped baskets. The celebration fizzled amid theological banter. Did Easter have roots in pagan worship? Should we celebrate a day that might have originally compromised the true message of Christ? Ugh. It seemed no one could agree, so I stopped caring.
I just wanted peace—and a chocolate bunny.
When the Lord recaptured my heart through a friend’s changed life, I celebrated Easter with him, and saw it through the eyes of one who hadn’t grown up in a “churched” family. Roy had been to church maybe twice in his lifetime before earning a basketball scholarship to a Christian college 2,000 miles from home. While surrounded by lovers of Jesus, Roy experienced new life on Easter Sunday, 1983, and would forever refer to the celebration as his “birthday.”
When I went to church with Roy on Easter in 1984, I was inspired by the awe and wonder with which he loved his risen Savior. The Cross and Empty Tomb weren’t just subjects of a bedtime story. They were powerful historical events, offering life-changing hope and peace to an entire world.
But I still needed a chocolate bunny to feel like Easter had truly come.
Family Easter Celebrations
Our daughters colored their first Easter eggs when they were adults. They participated in Easter Egg Hunts as kids, but we never made a big to-do about the Easter Bunny or the commercial side of things.
Instead, our girls grew up attending every Maundy Thursday dinner and Good Friday service. They went to Sunday Sunrise services and served breakfast for youth group fund raisers. Whether during the years before their dad became a full-time pastor or after, our girls grew up knowing we spend the Easter season with our family—our Church family.
And don’t worry—grandparents kept them well-stocked with chocolate bunnies.
What Is a Normal Easter?
Roy and I find ourselves in a different season for Easter this year. Our kids are grown and gone with kids of their own, and our church family is struggling with a pastoral search. We ourselves feel a little out-of-sorts because the traditions we’ve cherished are impossible to maintain.
So what do we do during Holy Week? How do we celebrate the most important events of the Christian faith—Jesus’ last night with His disciples, His Cross, and His Resurrection? How do we honor our Savior? Show Him our love?
This is how I will celebrate:
- I will remember Him.
- Meditate on Him.
- Worship Him.
- Adore Him.
- I will dwell on the Love that drove Him to that Cross.
- I’ll marvel at the splendor of God’s humility and bow low before Him.
- Then I’ll lift up my eyes and raise my voice to the One who died and rose again—the Mighty King, the Lamb of God and Lion of Judah, who reigns on High.
And I don’t care even a little bit about a chocolate bunny.
First Time Since…
I’ll do one more thing this year—that’s different than other years. Roy and I will watch the movie, The Passion of the Christ. We watched it the year it released, but I couldn’t watch it again. I left the theatre sobbing. It was too real, too devastating to see my Jesus beaten, bleeding, suffering—for me.
Perhaps that’s why I must watch it again. I need to face that incomprehensible Love.
As I’ve prepared my heart this week for the experience, I searched youtube.com for videos that might give added insight. I found this amazing interview with Jim Caviezel, the actor who portrayed Jesus in the film.
I’m thankful to have Caviezel’s perspective while I watch the movie a second time. His experience while filming somehow makes my experience while watching more bearable. I will watch this movie on Friday and mourn for my Savior–but unlike the grieving disciples, I know what happens on Sunday!
Rejoice with me on Easter, dear ones! He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!
- The Cross and Empty Tomb are powerful historical events offering life-changing hope to the world.
- How do you celebrate Holy Week, the most important events of the Christian faith?
- This Easter, I lift my eyes and raise my voice to the One who died, rose again, and reigns on High.
- How will you celebrate Easter this year?