"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD...He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." Micah 4:2

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Preparing Hearts for Easter

LENT is a traditional religious season leading up to Easter and carries the meaning of "preparing one's heart" for the victory found in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As a child, my family didn't practice LENT. I was taught that it belong to only a certain religious group and had nothing to do with the fellowship we attended. I only heard bits and pieces of the external practices tied to this season, and none of them really were explained to me.

Even though we had a deep love for the Lord Jesus, my younger years were filled with external family preparations with the practice of cantata music, Spring cleaning, shopping for new clothes, and of course, parties, hunts, and the childish hopes of a Spring basket full of candies.
Oh, our parents taught us the Easter story and hoped we understood the victory celebrated each Sunday because Christ arose from the dead long ago. As a little one, I even remember becoming very excited the week before Easter when our Sunday School class made paper palm branches and marched around the room singing "Hosanna! Hosanna!" We all knew it was the announcement of another special holiday coming in just a week and shouted all the more!
As a young pre-teen, the Passion Week celebrations became ETERNAL for me. I realized Christ suffered and died for me. He became my personal Lord and Savior, forgiving me of all my sin that put him on that cross. I began my spiritual journey with Him.

This year while overseas visiting our daughter's family, we're enjoying the daily "ritual" of family devotional time around the dinner table. Last night, it was absolutely adorable to hear the youngest response for the reason of LENT.
"We're preparing our hearts for Easter".

These parents pulled an older book off the shelf which our daughters found when they were old enough to prepare for Easter themselves. They shared their love of Preparing for EASTER by James Evans with me. I found it a beautiful treasury of daily devotions.
Around this table, I've been reminded of how rich this whole season became to me as a young adult.
Each daily Scripture readings points to Jesus, "who became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him".

The little object lessons explain the daily Scriptures read and the truth comes alive using common household items. The older children are challenged to answer specific questions by writing their thoughts in a journal each day during their own quiet time. These journal entries hopefully help their hearts grasp the truth of the focused Scriptures and then, verbally relating their thoughts help the parents know whether the truth is grasped or needs further explanation.

My own heart has been challenged to stop and ponder what God did for us in Christ as I listen to these daily devotions. The little object lessons make me realize that even the youngest among us can retain truth retold. It is a wonderful practice and could enhance many special family times for my friends back home.

So, just what does Easter mean to you?
If you asked your kids what EASTER means to them...what would be their first response?
Do you have a traditional practice that prepares your family's hearts for the special celebration of Easter?
I'd love to hear what you do to help you and your children understand Christ's sacrifice and resurrection a little more this year.

It's not too late for your family to pick up a good devotional book to get started preparing your hearts for a wonderful celebration of victory found in the empty tomb.

No comments: