This week, we reflect on the apex of our faith – the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter can hit us all a little differently, however, depending on the season of life we’re in. May these three reflections from varying perspectives bless you, resonate with you, and spur you on to reflect on Christ and on Easter in your own life, as well.

THE NURTURER

This portion was supplied by Fatima, a wife and mother of 2 boys, one of whom was born earlier this year. This passage was transcribed by the author from a conversation on April 10, 2019.

I just had a baby eight weeks ago, and I think back to the moment that I held him in my arms for the first time, and when I held my firstborn in my arms for the first time. I think it’s something really hard to put into words until it’s something you experience.

Easter specifically makes me think about Mary being Jesus’s mom. I immediately thought of the sacrifice that she made as a mom during Easter weekend.

Being a mom of two boys, I think, “wow, I don’t even know how I could ever sacrifice my child, much less lay at the foot of his cross, look up, and see him, beaten beyond recognition and go through that kind of suffering…” what kind of emotions she must have had.

And it makes me wonder, did Mary’s mind flashback to the first time that she held Him? 

As a mom, Easter gives you a new appreciation for what Jesus did for us, because when you hold a precious child in your hands and it’s a part of you, to think about that child going through any kind of suffering, whether it’s cutting their finger, falling down, or enduring what Christ went through… It’s so hard to put into words or think about what Mary must have experienced. 

I want to make sure that we do a really good job of celebrating Easter and teaching our kids to understand what Easter is. I grew up in a house where we went to church on Easter Sunday, but that was pretty much it. I knew what Easter was about and I knew what Resurrection Sunday was, but I didn’t understand, especially as a child, what Good Friday was. 

My older son is four years old and very capable of understanding both the death and resurrection of Christ, so we decided this year to use Easter resurrection eggs. Each egg has a different little trinket that signifies something different [in the Easter story].

It’s different for us to celebrate Easter than we have in years past; [my husband and I] go to church and take the time to read the passages about Jesus’ death and resurrection. But this year, we’re being more purposeful about teaching our kids.

I think it’s important for a child at a very early age, to be introduced to it. My son has got it down pat: Jesus came and he died on the cross for our sins; he knows what a sin is. But I don’t know how much he really, at four years old, can comprehend the fact that Jesus resurrected. So, we’re going through those little eggs, making it more purposeful, sitting down to take time to pray about how we’re going to teach him.

In the evenings, we sit down as a as a family and do a devotional. We’re reading scripture out loud, and it’s not out of the kids book, it’s out of the Bible. He’s hearing those words now, whether or not he’s understanding them or processing what’s being said.

He’s hearing it and seeing mommy and daddy sit down, take time to read the Bible together, and be purposeful about having Christ in our home, not just on Wednesday night and Sunday morning. 

It’s really neat trying to figure out creative ways to really walk out your faith and your relationship with the Lord. I think having kids really opens your eyes to that. It’s fun getting to explain to him things for the very first time and seeing the little light bulb go off in his head – who Jesus was and his death and resurrection, what that means, what that looked like, and why it’s so important. It’s an honor and a joy to be able to do that.
– Fatima

THE OBSERVER

This passage is from Dean, an author, creative, a husband and father, and member of the Orthodox Christian Church.

So this morning my Macbook charger got stuck in the metal hinges of my briefcase. I finally jerked it out without ripping the cord. This kind of stuff seems to happen all the time before Easter. A glass strangely spills causing a little tiff with my spouse. A bug appears in the room. 

These couple of months before Easter, known by some as “Lent,” seem to me like a tiny version of that scene in Job where God allows the demons to irritate him for a while, a loving gesture to help Job turn his eyes toward God and to learn to be thankful in all things. I call them the “lenten gremlins.”

Easter is the big lift for me now. I really do feel it. And I certainly look forward to it. 

It’s not necessarily overnight or magic. But I feel in a small way that I experience in my own life the power and fresh surge of life that all of humanity received that great moment when Christ exited the tomb. 

The rhythm of fast to feast (lenten abstentions to Easter celebration) is a way for me to connect to the life of Christ. I sense a oneness with him as I meditate on his challenges leading up to Easter—frustration with his disciples, the murderous scheming Pharisees, the betrayal of a friend, and, of course, the flogging, mockings, and crucifixion. And then everything changes. 

Traditionally, Christians have also fasted before Christmas, another lenten gremlin opportunity known as Advent. I’ve grown to love this journey as well. 

My tendency is to forget God (like the Israelites in the wilderness, who I used to ridicule). But now God uses events like Christmas and Easter—these real days in time and space that I need to mark off on my calendar—to jar me into remembering the God who loves me. 

As the season approaches, I laugh at those gremlins, and I take up my daily weapon to swat them away: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – Dean

THE SOJOURNER

I, Deanna, reflected on Easter myself, as this is the seventeenth anniversary of the Easter on which I first accepted Christ as my savior.

I remember sitting in a scratchy teal-cushioned pew seventeen years ago. I remember my heart beating fast and getting ever faster, ears hearing the music swell, eyes fixed ahead on the man lit up in red spotlights, suffering a strange fate, hanging up by his hands and feet.

My little seven-year-old mind was whirring: “This was the guy from the song, ‘Jesus Loves Me?’ Was this the same guy who loved the little children and served up thousands of loaves and fishes?”

I watched as Jesus was taken off the cross and put into a giant rock tomb (which somehow fit into our church sanctuary). The women and men wailed and walked away in mourning. 

Then silence. The singing stopped. The lights shut off. This would be the cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers. What would happen next?

In the darkness and quiet, the first notes and words of a familiar song began to echo through the auditorium. The soloist begins to tell the rest of the story.

“All Hell seemed to whisper, ‘Just forget it, He’s dead.’ Then the Father looked down to His Son and said,
‘Arise, My Love, Arise, My Love, The grave no longer has a hold on You!
No more death’s sting, No more suffering. Arise, arise, My Love.’”

The song gets louder and more hopeful. The tomb shakes, the smoke machine starts up, the spotlight brightens, and in a moment of sheer, incredible wonder, the same Jesus I saw die just minutes earlier WALKS OUT OF THE TOMB. 

“This is a true story?! This is the Jesus of the Bible?” My heart nearly bursts from my chest and my brain nearly melts from my ears.

This commands wonder. This demands awe. This requires response. The pastor asks if anyone wants to accept the offer of Jesus love and forgiveness, and I’m walking down the center aisle to sign myself up. 

I didn’t have a clue what that really meant yet. I just knew I wanted to know more about this Jesus, this amazing, mind-boggling, sin-conquering, grave-breaking, gloriously-reappearing Jesus.

What a journey it’s been since that day.

What a difference I now know between knowing Jesus and truly following Him. I’ve come to know His consistent mercy in response to my consistent struggle with sin, His deep grace for my deep shame, His presence in my loneliness, and His provision in my need. I’ve seen Him rebuild my soul, patiently and piece-by-piece, from the ashes that were left after a very bad relationship. 

One of the new aspects of Easter this year for me is the mission I have undertaken in leading a group of older girls in high school. Easter is not just about my personal reflection and worship this year, but about these girls’, as well. How might I model wonder, awe, and worship to them? I want them to know so deeply the love Christ has for them, the grace He wants to pour over them, and the life He wants to abundantly give them. 

The mission is the same for my husband of nearly six months; we do this work together. What an encouragement to have a true companion in the mission of the Gospel. I see his heart bleed for the students he leads to know the love of Christ, too. It is beautiful and awe-inspiring to watch someone I love so dearly pursue Christ and then others in the wake of that. The tears of joy and wonder return as I watch him share the Good News of Jesus, and my heart races again because I remember the first time that Good News washed over me.

May the story of Easter never cease to make us wonder at Christ. May it always elevate our heart rates, bust our hearts out of the cages we build around them, and propel us to tell our classmates, coworkers, neighbors, grocery baggers, family members, friends that it’s TRUE: Jesus is amazing and true and worth following.
– Deanna