"Christ the Lord is Risen today! Alleluia. Our triumphant holy day! Alleluia.
Raise your joys and triumphs high! Alleluia.Sing ye heavens and earth reply. Alleluia."
(Christ the Lord is Risen Today by Charles Wesley)
Without the resurrection, there would be no Christianity! Jesus' death and resurrection are the foundation of our faith! Because Jesus died and rose again, we can face life and death with confidence and hope! Easter is a great reason to celebrate!
Easter is my favorite holiday. I love remembering that Heaven is my home because my Beloved Savior conquered death! What a reason to rejoice! At Easter, I focus less on decorating (at Christmas, I go wild with decorating!) and more on drawing near to God. Yes, we have fun and feasting in our house, but we also set aside time to focus on each part of the Holy Week saga.
Would you like to celebrate Holy Week & Easter with me this year, using this time to draw closer to God? Simply set aside some time each day to read Scripture passages and pray. Adding hymns and songs will make it an even more special time for you and the Lord. You can also celebrate with you entire family!
Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday (Matthew 21 & John 12) where Jesus is received with cheers and worship as He enters Jerusalem on a donkey. Your church service may include waving palm branches at the beginning or during the worship. In the church I grew up in, we had a processional around the church grounds singing "All Glory, Laud, and Honor" while we waved palm branches. In our home, we have a special time of singing Palm Sunday evening. When the children were little, we included palm branches too. The day before Palm Sunday, Jesus was anointed for burial at Bethany by Mary, the sister of Lazarus. She poured a pint of expensive perfume on his feet and wiped it with her hair. Any of these Bible passages are great to read aloud or meditate on. You might celebrate Palm Sunday be giving one another foot rubs with sweet-smelling lotion in memory of how Jesus was worshiped by Mary. You don't have to celebrate Palm Sunday on Sunday, you can do it on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. The days are not important. What is important is to focus on each aspect of the last week of Jesus' pre-resurrection life!
Thursday is the Last Supper where Jesus instituted communion as He celebrated the Passover with His disciples. He also washed their feet and gave them a new commandment: to love one another as He had loved them (Matthew 26 & John 13). The disciples sang a hymn and left for the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed to the Father ( Matthew 26 & John 17). Jesus was arrested by the temple guard (Matthew 26 & John 18). If you have never done so, this is a great time to celebrate the Passover. Here are two blogs posts you might find helpful: Introduction to a Christian Seder and Christian Passover. You can also celebrate communion with family and friends or have a foot washing ceremony.
At daybreak, Friday morning, Jesus wass tried by the Sanhedrin and Peter betrayed him as the rooster greeted the morning light. Jesus was tried by Pilate, crucified, and buried (Matthew 26-27 & John 18-19). Friday is a time to celebrate what is good about Good Friday: Jesus' death paid the penalty for our sins. Praise God! When my children were little, they dressed up and acted out the entire Holy Week story for the adults. Now that they are older, we usually have a time of prayer and singing, focused on the cross, after reading the very long passages about His arrest, death, and burial. We usually watch The Passion of the Christ.
On Saturday, Jesus lay dead inside the tomb. Saturday is a great day to fast and meditate on the entire last week of Jesus' life, thanking Him for His love and sacrifice.
Sunday dawned and new life was discovered by the women at the tomb when they found it empty. Peter and John also find the empty tomb and soon Jesus appeared to the disciples, gathered behind locked doors. It's true! Jesus is alive! Alleluia! He is Risen for the dead! (Matthew 28 & John 20). Now is the time to dance, shout, and sing! Rejoice in the fact that Jesus paid the price demanded by a Holy God for our sin. He conquered death and rose from the grave. Celebrate with feasting, games for the children, and times of rejoicing in worship! A new outfit, festively decorated eggs, and decorating with the colors of spring all symbolize the new life we have in Christ!
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam, all die, so in Christ all will be made alive! (I Corinthians 15:20-22 NIV)
Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (I Corinthians 15:55-57 NIV)
Rejoice in the VICTORY of the Resurrection this Easter! May His Joy be overflowing!