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Preparing for Easter

by | Mar 31, 2023 | Forgiveness, Holidays, Humility, Relationship, Surrender

Our celebration of the greatest event in history is just a week away: Where is the hype?

I mean, 6-8 weeks before our celebration of the birth of Jesus, we are already talking about it, planning, buying gifts, etc., and in case we become tempted to forget Christmas will soon be there, the stores, decorations and advertisements won’t let us. But what about Easter, our celebration of the greatest event in history?

Of course, it can be said that without the birth, there would be no death; and that is true. But billions have been “born” throughout history; yet only One has died and risen again. So yes, it is absolutely the greatest event in history! So in the same spirit that we prepare for celebrating Jesus’ birth, shouldn’t we be preparing for the anniversary of His death and resurrection? Shouldn’t we be planning our celebrations?

That is what hit me between the eyes as I thought about what to write at the beginning of the holy week. Oh, I see a few decorations around town … Mostly eggs and bunnies … But please understand that we are not advocating that hype be made over coloured eggs or the Easter bunny or anything else that the world associates with Easter. Far from it. There is enough secularization of Easter without us adding to it. Yet while the world is hunting Easter eggs and eating Easter candy, shouldn’t we be doing … Something?

Sure, we’ll go to Good Friday services, and we’ll maybe stay for the pancake brunch afterwards. And then two days later we’ll go to our Easter Sunday services, and maybe invite family over for Easter dinner afterwards. And it can be said that our churches put lots of work and thought and effort into planning and celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus. But my question still stands: Shouldn’t we — read the ordinary person — be preparing and planning this all-so-important celebration?

This leads to another question: Just how does one prepare to celebrate Easter?

This past Easter season, I went to great efforts to prepare for a wonderful Easter season. We invited family, and our invitations were accepted. I planned a dinner menu that would fit all of our dietary idiosyncrasies and purchased all the food for a pancake breakfast after the Good Friday service and for Easter dinner. I scrubbed the house clean and made sure there were fresh linens on the bed, and I planned my regular weekly schedule around these important celebrations. Imagine my heartbreak to learn that the family wouldn’t be able to come for Good Friday, only for Easter Sunday … I admit, I cried. And, I began accusing them in my thoughts of not making the celebration of Jesus’ death a priority. But there was still Easter Sunday, and the preparations continued. Until the bomb fell, that is: They wouldn’t be coming for Easter at all. For one the car broke down, for the other, too much work to make the trip …  I’m ashamed to admit, I cried some more, and I even let my ol’ arch-enemy “Pity Party” in the door. And once firmly installed in my mind, self-pity did it’s usual thing: I began to feel anger towards our invited family. Why couldn’t they see that Easter is important enough to come home?

It took me about an hour before God finally got through to me: All my preparations for Easter were for naught. Not because family wasn’t coming, but because I was doing the wrong kind of preparation. Rather than planning breakfasts and dinners, rather than cleaning the house and changing the sheets, I should have been spending my time — preparing my heart! Doesn’t the Bible say that it is those with a pure heart who are blessed? Who will receive the Kingdom of God? “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8 ESV)

And aren’t those things what we seek at Easter?

But wait. How does one prepare their hearts for Easter?

As I asked God this question … Well, let’s be honest, it was more of an argumentative statement than a question … But the moment the words materialized, I suddenly remembered my anger at my family members. How could I celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice — the very one given for the forgiveness of my sin — when I held so much anger in my heart?

I repented on the spot, but I realized I still wasn’t ready for Easter. That’s when God began asking my why the whole thing upset me in the first place. Wait. Was I upset because my plans weren’t going to happen? Was I making a little “god” out of my own plans?

And just like that I had the first part of the answer to the question of how to prepare for Easter: I needed to remove all of the “dross” from my heart! I needed to forgive, yes, and I needed to recognize that if my plans don’t match up with God’s, then guess what? It isn’t His plans that are wrong! It is mine. My plans couldn’t become a “god” to me.

This, then, is the first step in preparing your heart for this greatest of celebrations: Spending time with God in prayer, searching your heart for “dross”.

But there is a second, equally as important step…

After I forgave my family and renounced the “god” I had made of my plans, it was suggested that we could perhaps drive to see them Sunday morning, bring the fixings for Easter dinner, and celebrate it with them. I nixed that one immediately. Easter celebration has to be at my house to be right!

That’s when God began speaking to me about my pride, and suddenly I realized the second important step to preparing my heart for Easter: I needed to humble myself before God in all circumstances. I needed to fully surrender every part to Him.

And that brings us to the third part of preparing our hearts for Easter: Meditating on Jesus’ ultimate gift. Making it the number one thought in our minds. Seeing everything with the backdrop of the cross. It takes some practice, yes, but oh, what a difference it makes!

Anyone surprised to know we took my carefully prepared Easter Dinner for a car ride to a distant town Sunday morning?

I urge each of you today, with our celebration of Easter just a week away, to spend some time preparing your heart. First, do some soul searching and let God remove the “dross”. Next, approach the season in all humility. and finally, spend time every day meditating on Jesus’ gift, and whatever comes up, view it with the background of the cross. I guarantee you that this will be the most powerful Easter celebration you’ve ever had.

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Associate Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries

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