Easter Preparations: 2019

I’ve never been one to do a lot to prepare for Easter but this year, Bailey and I are reading a book that has given me a view of Jesus that I haven’t seen before. Being raised in a Christian home and having spent almost every Sunday of my life in church, the stories and traditions can become so familiar that I don’t even see them. Please don’t misunderstand me. They never lose their potency or their value, but I can lose the ability to appreciate these things with familiarity. Do you know what I’m talking about?

You know how if you see your child every single day you don’t quite notice their growth on a regular basis? If you force yourself to stop and think you recognize that just a few months ago they weren’t quite at your eye level and now they’re taller than you. You might not notice their growth daily, but when you have them put on a pair of shoes that fit last week that suddenly won’t even come close to going on, their growth is quite evident. {And don’t even get me started at what it does to your heart when you spend a few hours preparing a graduation slideshow, traveling back in time 17+ years… it is at that point that a child’s growth simultaneously thrills your soul and breaks your heart.}

My relationship with Jesus can be that way. Just as I am intimately involved in the lives of each of my children, and I DO focus on the quality and quantity of time I spend with them as individuals, days and weeks go by when I don’t notice certain things about them.

I spend time with Jesus and I love Him more today than I did when I accepted him as my Lord at eight years old, but sometimes His life story can feel just like that: a story. And then I run across something that makes me pause and really think on an aspect of it and in a very specific way. Philip Yancey’s book The Jesus I Never Knew has given me the chance to do that over and over again.

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Quick side-note that actually does have something to do with all of this. I love words and the way God speaks to me the most clearly is through words. We just so happened to settle on Sonlight (a literature- rather than textbook-based curriculum) for our high school years, a fact that, in retrospect, makes perfect sense with who I am as an educator and who my students are, as lovers-of-books and stories.  One of the most amazing things we’ve witnessed using this curriculum is how God lines up what He wants us to read and when. Sure, there was logical thought put into the timing and pacing of the lesson plans but no one at Sonlight could have known that we were going to spread Core 200 out over two years and no one could have predicted how long each book would take for me to read to my profoundly dyslexic student… landing us at the passion week in Philip Yancey’s book just a couple of weeks before Easter. It was all in His timing: how long we spent with each book that came before this one and which ones we skipped to end up at this point in time in this particular book.  So, with that said, my side-note leads me to share with you just where we are and what I liked so much about what Mr. Yancey said…

From the Gospels I also learned that, unlike my church, the biblical record slows down rather than speeds up when it gets to the Holy Week. The Gospels, said one early Christian commentator, are chronicles of Jesus’ final week with increasingly longer introductions.

Of the biographies I have read, few devote more than ten percent of their pages to the subject’s death – including the biographies of men like Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, who died violent and politically significant deaths. The Gospels, though, devote nearly a third of their length to the climactic last week of Jesus’ life. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John saw death as the central mystery of Jesus. (p. 187)

This was eye-opening for me! I grew up spending much more time per year studying the rest of Jesus life… in fact, I can assure you that of all the hours spent studying Jesus and his life, not even close to 1/3 of those hours were devoted to the Holy Week.

So I decided to slow things down, as well. Rather than read this chapter to Bailey at our normal pace I decided to read each section aloud in the mornings during our read-aloud time, even if it meant we missed reading some of the book we’ve been reading for a few weeks.

On page 188 Mr. Yancey mentions a few different ways he’s spent time in the Word reading through the Holy Week. One seemed just right for this year. The first section of the Holy Week is the “Triumphal Entry.” I read Mr. Yancey’s thoughts on that to the boys and then I read that section aloud from each of the four Gospels. The next day I did the same thing with the Last Supper. It has been my favorite Easter season yet. Today we read through the actual death, burial, and resurrection but we didn’t have time to do all four gospels, just Matthew’s. I believe next week we’ll do each account, one day at a time. Who says we have to have finished reading about Easter before Easter!?!?

So, those are just a few thoughts on my mind about the Reason for the season and below are some of the ways we’ve marked this season in our minds with traditional activities. While I love Christmas so much, I am keenly aware that there is no need for Christmas if we don’t have an Easter. In fact, had Jesus decided to call on angels to rescue Him or had He not been willing to go along with this Plan of redemption, His birth would not have made such an impact. (Not to get into deep theology but Philip Yancey’s take on it would be that had Jesus called down help from heaven and not endured the cross, the end of the world as we know it would have taken place at that point. Heaven would have come down… the “kingdom would descend like a hailstorm” (p. 196). Quite interesting to consider.)

Anyway, I have loved Easter pictures for a long time. Here’s a throwback to 2003 for proof (which happens to be handy because I’ve been preparing Hayden’s graduation slideshow).For Hayden's Graduation Slideshow

Our pictures look a little frillier now!

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And because we’re not near our Grammy, I’ve had to step in and do the egg-dying. So, here’s proof that I’ve done my crafty thing for the year.

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About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
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1 Response to Easter Preparations: 2019

  1. Sheri Prescott says:

    Beautiful words and pictures, my friend!

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