Sunday, April 20, 2014

What Really Matters

The weekend sort of snuck up on me. I’m not completely sure why.  Maybe it was the busy schedule that forced me into a frantic drive to Michael’s at 7:50 the night before a school project was due last week. Or it could be the back-to-back company or the week Jon was out of town for five days. But somehow, three weeks of April have flown out from under us and here we are at Easter weekend.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t completely forget…I’m only a few days behind on a 40-day pre-Easter Bible reading plan I’ve been doing. :) I just sort of forgot some of the preparation details. Like on Thursday when I was shocked to find out that Target was completely out of Original flavor Starburst jelly beans, forcing me to settle for Tropical instead this year. Or Friday when I was getting my hair cut and the conversations I kept overhearing reminded me that usually people dye eggs at Easter. And hunt for them. But, I thought I might have pink eye, and wasn’t feeling that great, so I decided right then and there not to worry about that.

This year, we didn’t dye eggs. We didn’t pick out new springy clothes to wear to church. We didn’t even pull the Easter baskets out of the attic until so late Saturday night that I’m not sure we’ll use them. The Easter “piles” I made are looking acceptable and I don’t know if I want to reorganize them into a basket. And we aren’t really having any sort of special Easter lunch. Right now, we might just have spaghetti (the meat is defrosting as we speak).

But the beauty of letting go of the traditional things like Easter grass and new dresses, is that I’m left with only the basics this Easter. And the basics are all that really matters. Who cares if my kids look picture perfect at church tomorrow? Who cares if they love their Easter baskets or get to eat dyed eggs for breakfast?

I’m reminded that only ONE thing matters this Sunday, and every day. Do my kids know Jesus? Do they know that He came to earth to live and die in their place? Do they know He rose again, conquering sin and death? Do they know what we’re really celebrating?

And, on a more personal level…do I remember what we’re celebrating? Do I remember what I’m here for? Do I remember that life is about glorifying God and following Christ? Am I living as if I really believe that He is the most important thing? Am I telling anyone else about Him? Sometimes we have to peel away the “traditional” stuff to remember what its really all about.

I was thinking about that tonight especially, because tonight I started reading a new book. It’s a sort of memoir of a nonChristian woman’s life as she faces cancer and family struggles and parenting two young girls. And its possibly the most depressing book I’ve ever read. Because she clearly does not know the Lord. Does not know that His death conquered the sin and despair that is beating her down. She’s trying to laugh and love her way through life…stand up tall, put on a strong face, cling tight to friends and family when she needs to be held up.

But only Christ can do that. Only Christ can give us hope in the hard times. Only Christ can give our lives purpose and meaning. Otherwise, our lives look like a memoir of emotions…tossed from happiness to pain to determined struggle or despair. My heart breaks for this author, and I’m reminded anew that life is nothing without Christ. Life is tragedy without the cross.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you” (I Peter 1:3-4).

Amen. Thank you Jesus. May I tell the world. And may I live in such a way that shows a lost and dying world there is more to Easter than baskets and egg hunts, pretty dresses and family meals!    

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