“Our family doesn’t live close by, so we celebrate holidays with friends.”
“When your kids grow up, they have their own lives, so we make plans with our friends.”
“Since my husband is a cop, we save the big dinner and family celebration for another day.”
“When you are single, sometimes holidays are lonely.”
“I would rather have colonoscopy that be with my family for a holiday.”
Welcome to America. There really are no quintessential holiday ideals anymore. Personal situations bring big differences in how we celebrate this most holy day, Easter. Did you find yourself in one of the quotes from my friends and family? Perhaps you can’t even figure out what people are celebrating about. Or maybe you never grew up celebrating Easter at all. My family always celebrated Easter by going to church to have a big celebration of the fact that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead and still lives today! Then we would gather with family and or friends for a big dinner and Easter egg hunts. It was fun!
So you might imagine my shock our first Easter after we had moved from California to Colorado, away from our family. My then 10 year old daughter and I had new dresses and cute sandals all ready for Easter Sunday. Then a kind neighbor gave me a head’s up that it usually snows on or a couple of days before Easter – and it is cold. What?! Then how on earth do you have cute outfits that announce the joy in your heart with their bright colors? Oh. It’s a good idea to wear long under wear under those dresses and winter tights or leggings with them? And definitely close-toed shoes? Humph. It was an adjustment for sure. And having the children hunt Easter eggs in the snow? Well, that ended up being it’s own kind of fun!
My heart had been sad at the thought of being in a new place, without family or close friends to celebrate with. It wasn’t that I was dreading it, just a longing for the familiar pattern and traditions of Easters past. So it was a relief when a bunch of neighbors who had recently moved in, came together with us after church. The afternoon came complete with laughter, good food and hunting eggs. We laughed about our long johns under our dresses and our heavy winter coats that kept us warm going to and from church in the snow. Everyone brought some of their favorite, traditional Easter foods and we got to learn about their family celebrations. And it was a good thing that Easter eggs are brightly colored, because there was some snow around. It was pretty clear that everyone enjoyed being together that day.
We still have a variety of Easter celebrations, with a lots of different friends and sometimes family around us. Our one constant is that we are always filled to the brim with joy from the love of God. Have you considered that God’s love for you meant that He made a way for you to not be overcome by your sin, by the things you have done wrong? When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He covered over all of our sins. We know that thousands of people were crucified by the Romans. The difference in Jesus the Christ being crucified is that three days later he rose from He dead, and today He is still alive. Can you imagine the power that goes with being raised from the dead – and then never dying again? God created us to be in relationship – which is why we crave relationships. God dearly loves you, and each and every person – not just ‘good’ people or Christians – everyone. May I encourage you to make time this Easter and think about God’s unconditional love for you? Just talk to Him. Tell Him that you would like to be in a relationship. Ask Him to forgive you for what you have done wrong. And let a new tradition begin as to why you celebrate Easter. And if you do, please let me know. I would love to talk with you about what it means to be in a relationship with God and to have Jesus leading your life.
No matter how, when and with whom you celebrate Easter, choose to celebrate the love of Jesus for you this Sunday.