The longer I have been a follower of Jesus, the more the week leading up to Easter has become more special. There are a handful of reasons this time of year, here in this culture I live in and today's era of over-commercialized holidays, that this week has become my favorite "holiday". For one, I love that it is way less commercialized and way less pressure to get carried away with the holiday part of it. This is the first year I seriously forgot that there is a large majority of people visiting Easter bunnies at malls and buying chocolate rabbits to eat on Sunday morning. I absolutely see no problem in doing these things for fun with your kids, but I know that many kids soak in that Easter is about bunnies and candy and little about their salvation. I love that the week leading up to Resurrection Sunday (as we refer to it here) is called "holy week". Each year I am challenged to find some holiness in my week and it has nothing to do with being holy myself or thinking I am holy, but seeing God's holy desires for my heart.
This year I knew in order to find God's voice this week that I needed to turn some other "voices" off. I plugged out of a few things to leave space for God to whisper to me as I went about my week... turning off my phone through-out a few key times during my day, ignoring facebook, no radio as I drove around town, choosing my Bible before bed instead of my favorite book at the moment, home-school afternoons were less focused on the school end of things and more focused on the heart end of things and rest, no TV, and no new projects started. The TV wasn't turned on, except for some kids shows a few times and the outdoors was our personal sanctuary. Worship music filled our background here as we went about our day. Holy started to weave itself into our hearts as we found cleared away space to let Him in.
We began the week with a quiet walk through our favorite wooded area and started each day with our Bible breakfast. We read through and talked a lot about what it would have been like to live during the time of Jesus's accusation, crucifixion, and rising from the tomb. By Friday, as I read aloud at the breakfast table in detail what was happening to Jesus on preparation day in those times, my heart broke and I couldn't hide the tears. I'd had a week of turning my eyes away from things that drown out God's voice so often and was deeply humbled as I read through what Jesus had to do for me. And I realized I so often act in a way that is so ungrateful, so undeserving. My boys just sat in silence with me, as they too realized just a little tiny bit that there was something more to this Easter season then chocolate bunnies and easter egg hunts. I had read through a beautiful poem the night before called "Watch the Lamb" and while my boys quietly waited for me to get past some tears, I just saw myself standing before God as they held my hands and we saw the lamb together. As a parent I felt suddenly very equal and small. As a mom I spend much of my time assuming I know best and am a bit superior to my kids. But really, I am just blessed with raising these boys right now, but someday we will each be held accountable together, before the same God, and bringing the same equal sins to be wiped away. The lamb of God was slain for our sins, starting with the very littlest all the way to the very oldest in our family.
We know that Easter and holy week are both times of year planned by men. But I have chosen to use the origins of Easter, the timing of Jesus crucifixion, and my responsibility to Jesus to draw closer to Him. I have grabbed my kids by the hands and tried to help them hear God as we live this week a bit more focused on the gift laid before us. We've had fun finding easter eggs and eating chocolate bunnies heads off, but we've hidden God's words in our hearts, seen his beauty in the things he created around us, and heard his promises as we read the truth together each day. I have found holy this week and am overly humbled by what it does for my life. My salvation is secure and it makes the resurrection mean everything holy to me.