Distanced from the commercialism of Christmas, at least a little ways from the heart of cold/flu/sick season, Easter has become my new favorite holiday. There are other reasons as well, and I am going to explore those this week.
Usually during Holy Week I dodge the internet to focus on other things, but this year I want to document for the kids the traditions we’ve started for this time of year, and I’m using the blog to do that.
I did not always have a love affair with Easter. It always struck me as a difficult holiday due to the Crucifixion. I understood why it happened and was necessary, but I found it hard to see through the suffering and somehow celebrate. I was one of those people who, even though I knew the Resurrection was coming, could not make it past my mourning over Good Friday to enjoy it.
Even as the words of my Russian Lit teacher, “you must go through the fire to be stronger on the other side” (and that’s the gist of Russian lit for those of you who missed the class. Lots of suffering, some redemption, fire abounding) rang through my ears I still never became a fan of fire growth. Or burning growth. Or growth that involved pain. My personal philosophy on suffering was dodge it.
I still don’t pray to suffer, though I pray to hurt for those who do. I have advanced to a place where I pray that when I do suffer, because it’s always coming in this life, that I will find a way to glorify God in it. My philosophy on suffering has changed from dodge it to learn from it when you have to go through it. Have something positive come out of it for Christ. This change in view and some time in the fire myself have helped me appreciate Easter for what it is and where it puts me spiritually every year.
The world questions what it means to be a Christian; many Christians even debate among themselves what identifies us, what should identify us. There are many who have never been interested in the faith because of those they’ve met who are associated with it (maybe me); there are many who have been associated with it who have walked away. There are some who are convinced it is absolutely 100% related to politics but disagree how Jesus would vote. There are so many distractions, and that’s why I love Easter; Easter is who God is, what He did out of love for us, and what we’re supposed to do because of that. It goes back to basics, and the Gospel is very forward and pretty basic in message when it’s allowed to be. It’s Jesus in simplest, most beautiful terms.
We’ll start Palm Sunday and move forward from there reading through the story of Christ, participating in Holy Week traditions that are meaningful for us, and just seeing where the week leads. It’s a heavy week; it’s a week to remember God’s promises; it’s usually full of joy and weeping at our house, and that’s okay.