Ask anyone what their favorite holiday is and they will tell you… right now! Everyone has one. Everyone knows what it is. Throughout the chapters of your life, your favorite holiday might change. I remember being a kid on the farm and declaring that Christmas was my favorite… most kids will say this. The overwhelming excitement of being out of school for two weeks with no homework, sled riding on the hill, eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate, getting presents, spending time at my Aunt’s house, and playing 99 games of Monopoly with my brother was the best. Yep, Christmas was my favorite back then.
Then… a miracle happened in 1969. I was 11 years old and I asked Jesus into my heart. It was the year that this little farm girl became a child of the King. Everything in my 11 year old heart changed, including my favorite holiday. When I truly understood that Jesus loved me so much that He suffered and died on the cross for my sins, and that He rose from the grave to conquer death, Easter became my new favorite holiday. I never looked back. After almost 44 years of being saved, Easter still remains my favorite.
Here are some reasons that I love Easter:
We celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior. When I visited Israel this past summer, I stood at the base of Golgotha (the place of the Skull) during the daytime and nighttime hours. The imagery of that horrible crucifixion played out in my mind. The spot is a jagged rock overhang and it looks like a badly shaped skull. The eyes, nose, and uneven skeletal features make you feel unsettled. There is unease in your heart as you study it. As I looked at the mocking rock formations, I mentally heard the loud angry chanting sounds from the people as Jesus hung on that terrible cross. It is an uncomfortable and solemn place to visit. I have peered and stood inside the Garden Tomb in Israel. I studied the hastily hollowed out rock burial site. I learned that no human DNA evidence has ever been discovered on those stones. There has never been a decomposing body on that gray, white, and brown stone grave. As I sat on the manmade rock ledge outside the Garden Tomb, I breathed in the sweet fragrance of hope that Jesus lives. Then as I floated in a replicated first century boat on the Sea of Galilee, I stared over the side and into the water. Mesmerized by the fact that I was on the Sea of Galilee, my heart sang a line from a familiar song “because He lives, I can face tomorrow.”
I have celebrated my birthday on Easter Sunday several times. Starting out a birthday morning with an Easter Resurrection Sunday Morning Service… how special is that?
My Mom’s famous lamb cake… can never be forgotten. Years ago, Mom took a cake decorating class. She bought a Wilton 2 piece lamb cake pan. Mom learned all the decorating techniques. First, she would bake both sides of the lamb cake and let them cool. Then, she put the two sides together. Next, the cake was covered with mostly white and some green coconut (Mom would put coconut and a couple drops of green food coloring in a plastic baggie and... shake, shake, shake...now it's green!) This would be used to surround the resting lamb so he looked like he was lying in the green grass. Finally, the finishing touches were applied. The lamb had very long icing eyelashes with black jelly bean eyes. He had the sweetest little pink icing nose. Colored jelly beans were scattered all over the green coconut grass. The lamb cake was always the centerpiece of our Easter dinner table.
Easter Sunrise Service was my all-time favorite church service. Someone once asked me what my favorite Easter memory was… well… this is it. My Mom, my brother, and I would go together every year. Mom would lay out our clothes the night before. She would have our entire Easter ensemble laid out. This included our shoes and perfume/cologne. It would look like a walking outfit minus the human form of my brother and me. We would laugh at the silliness of those clothes lying in wait for us to jump into. Mom was very particular about how we looked on Easter Sunday. "Beth Ann… you better not scuff up those white patented leather shoes! And… make sure your little white gloves and embroidered hankie fit in that matching 3 inch by 4 inch white purse."
I loved flying the kite that you got in your Easter basket.
I love the Christian centered music of Easter.
I love breathing in the brisk spring air with the scent of newness of life as you leave your home for the church.
I love Easter afternoon walks in the woods to search for the wild crocus and the little green daffodil spikes.
I love beautiful flowers and flora dressed in colored foil pots on the front altar of the church. The vibrant colors, the delicate blooms, and the perfect petals of each spring flower designed by their Creator. The amazing aroma and tantalizing fragrance that is unique to Easter Sunday Morning.
Then there is… the Bride of Christ, His people, His Love, the glorious Church that He gave His life for. She never looks more beautiful than She does at Easter.
Have a blessed Easter.