Friday, March 30, 2012

How do you celebrate Easter?

Once, I did not give Jesus or Easter a second thought. As a child, Jesus was just a picture on the wall.  It was a commercial holiday, and was celebrated with egg hunts and bunny shaped candy. As an adult, Easter is my favorite holiday.  I never want to miss a chance to celebrate, and Easter is the ultimate celebration! I might even be more thankful at Easter than at Christmas, despite how much I love presents. Because at Easter, it’s about what Jesus gave. About this gift Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

When I was a child I would go to the park and join a city-wide Easter egg hunt. Click here to see Tulsa egg hunt locations. Once I even had a turtle in the turtle races. My turtle did not win. A few years after becoming a Christian I still didn’t grasp the importance of Easter, but I looked forward to having a reason to buy a pretty new dress.  First Corinthians 13:11 says “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

Growing up, my grandmother always wished us a “Happy Resurrection Sunday,” and I thought it odd that she didn't say Happy Easter. Then one year after I had grown up and was in college, I finally understood why grandma said "Happy Resurrection Sunday." Easter is a holiday about worshipping the Lord, celebrating his resurrection, thinking about his goodness and mercy. Consider the following verses with me:   

Phillipians 2:5-11 "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but     made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and  given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Jesus wouldn’t have been known as a Savior without His death on the cross, but it is His redemption and RISING from the dead that convinced the world He is Lord! What great love He has for us. That love shined through His death on the cross, and my forgiveness was granted when He did what
no man could and rose from the grave. Ephesians 1:7 says “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” The power is in His esurrection.  Easter Sunday is a day of celebrating the “RISEN LORD.” As the National Commander for
the Salvation Army Commissioner William Roberts, put it, “Christ is risen…He is risen indeed!” I encourage you to take time this Easter season to worship the risen Lord and read one or every gospel account of Jesus. 

As for me, I will celebrate by reading the gospel of Luke, spending Easter Sunday, April 8th, thanking God and feasting with family and friends. Guests at The Salvation Army Center of Hope shelter will celebrate with a special lunch, and all the children will get Easter baskets stuffed full of candy and things to make them smile. A morning worship service is also provided, and guests may choose whether or not to attend. However you decide to celebrate, the staff at The Salvation Army wish you a Happy Resurrection Sunday and a very Happy Easter!

A special thanks to the following Center of Hope supporters:The Salvation Army’s Women’s Auxiliary and community volunteers who donated Easter baskets. To our friends, volunteers and partners who continue to stand with us in “doing the most good” at the Center of Hope and Center of Hope Sponsors: David E. and Cassie L. Temple Foundation, Case & Alfreda Zandbergen Foundation,  H.A and Mary K. Chapman Charitable Trust, George Kaiser Family Foundation.


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