One Easter Sunday several years ago, I played in the band for sunrise service, then 3 morning services, and had Easter Sunday dinner with the family. I finally collapsed that night on the couch to watch “The Ten Commandments” with some Easter chocolate. It had been a full, exciting, wonderful day celebrating Easter…….. only except I didn’t feel like I had experienced the Resurrected Christ!
I had been so busy doing all these great activities…playing great songs, spending time with family, eating great food, but I hadn’t really slowed down enough to fully experience Christ’s presence on the most Holiest of days. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the day, I didn’t feel like I had truly experienced Easter in its fullness. I was participating in wonderful things but missed out on the most important thing.
This failure to fully experience the Resurrected Christ wasn’t anyone’s fault except my own. I filled my time with great Easter activities but didn’t allow myself time to think, reflect, worship and pray. As a result, Easter felt like a super-busy weekend and not a deeply meaningful celebration of my Savior.
What could I have done differently?
I would have still done all those activities because they were all special and important. However, I should have built in more quiet time and personal reflection in preparation for Easter that would have made the Sunday services more meaningful. Taking the time to meditate and dwell on the Resurrection before the Sunday activities would have made a significant difference.
This year, I find busyness creeping up on me, filling my Easter weekend. Again, lots of wonderful activities…..family gatherings, cooking food, CAAM Kid Zone at the Slawburger Festival, and more great music. I love all of it and said YES to all of it. But, I don’t want to make the same mistake this year of being to busy to be impacted by the true meaning of Easter.
Here are a few ideas how I’m going to make sure that I don’t miss out on this Holy day:
Meditate on Scripture– Passages like Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 prophesy of Christ’s suffering. It amazes me that David and Isaiah write about specific details that Jesus fulfills hundred of years later. Read them slowly and out loud. How do you think Jesus felt as he was experiencing these sorrows.
Study the activities of Holy Week- Starting with Palm Sunday, read what Jesus did on each day of the week until the Resurrection. Sure, you can do this in the Gospels, but websites like Jesus.org have a Passion Week timeline for you to follow each day of the week.
Fast-The discipline of fasting is associated with the practice of Lent. Maybe you’ve already participated in a fast through Lent. If not, having some kind of fast during Holy Week is a wonderful way to focus your heart and mind on Jesus. You don’t have to fast just food. There are all kinds of fasts…..tv, media, etc….there are so many ways to fast. The bottom line is what can you give up that will help turn your heart to Him?
Attend special services- Easter Sunday always has tons of services to attend. Have you ever looked into participating in other types of services throughout the week? I didn’t grow up with Maundy Thursday service or Good Friday service or the Easter vigil. Oh my, they are wonderful! It really brings deep intense meaning to celebrating our Lord’s Passion. Liturgical churches like the Catholic or Episcopalian churches have these types of services. Interdenominational services like the ones here in Fayetteville are great for coming together in unity as the Body of Christ. Family Worship Center in Hazel Green (my church family) is hosting a Passover supper on Monday evening. Understanding Passover brings great meaning to understanding the Old Testament fulfillment of Jesus’ sacrifice. And, of course, there are lots of special musical programs that are a great way to celebrate and worship. Try a new service this year and see how it impacts you this Easter!
Music-Don’t get me started! There are SO MANY amazing songs about the Resurrection!! Old and new…there are just too many!! Music can move us like nothing else. Spend Holy Week with your favorite hymns, classical pieces, and worship songs, and you will feel like bursting with joy on Easter Sunday’s celebration!!!
Movies- Don’t forget some great movies! Through the years, I have enjoyed watching certain movies during Easter…The Passion, Ben-Hur (the old one, but the new one is pretty good), The Ten Commandments, Jesus of Nazareth. I bet there are more. What are you favorites?
Don’t let Easter sneak up on you because you are too busy! Just like Christmas, celebrating the real reason for the season is vital. You’ve got to be intentional about how you are going to celebrate or else it will pass you by. We should treat Resurrection Sunday like the biggest celebration of the year!
Here’s a printable you can download to help get you started!! If you need more recommendations, I’d be glad to share some with you!
What can you do to celebrate the Resurrection…not just Easter? Share you ideas!