Each year I am tempted to allow Easter to sneak past me without taking time to really enjoy it. That probably sounds strange since it seems like everyone else enjoys Easter: parents, kids, church members – even the unchurched to a degree.
Even though the resurrection is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the eternal life I preach so passionately about each Sunday, for too many years I let three things rob me of Easter joy.
Church leaders – and parents – can easily work ourselves into exhaustion during the week leading up to Easter. If we are not careful, we will end up depleted before Easter is even over. I have learned to say “no” to some of the negotiable activities that fill up my calendar during the Easter week, so that I can say “yes” to those which are essential.
Another temptation I fight each year is to read the familiar story of the gospel too casually. This is my 38th Easter as a believer, and 30th as a pastor – so yeah, I’ve got this down. I have learned to walk slowly through the Easter story instead of waltzing casually through it. I do not want to miss the details of the courageous, sacrificial way that Jesus demonstrated his love for me on the cross. I also don’t want to forget the triumphant way Jesus defeated sin and death. My joy is being rekindled this week as I consider the privilege of living as a son instead of slave.
There is no better week for Christians to count their spiritual blessings than this one. I am looking back on the three decades of grace that I have been walking in, and cannot help but thank God for pouring out his love on me. I am choosing to pause each day this week to consider the endless eternity I will enjoy in heaven because of the finished work of the cross. Jesus took the wrath of judgement I deserved on himself, so why would I not be grateful? I don’t need to wait for Good Friday or Easter Sunday to get my resurrection celebration on, because I not only rob myself of the joy of Easter, but more importantly I rob God of the glory he so richly deserves.
If you also have been rescued from sin and death by Jesus, I want to invite you to join me in this celebration today. And if you get carried away and want to celebrate the resurrection all year long, I assure you that there is a church family nearby who would be glad to help you.
Photo: Our daughter Holly at 3 yrs old. She is 24 now.