Column: Truly celebrating Easter
The following was written by one of the columnist for The Madison Record, Dawn Reed. Her column appears weekly in the faith section of The Madison Record and Madison County Record.
By Dawn Reed
Her words convicted me to the bone marrow. My eyes filled with tears and I covered my mouth not to sob out loud. She hadn’t intended to make me cry.
Jen is one of everybody’s favorite people. She is the church aunt or grandma all of us need. She gives hugs and words of wisdom. Plus, she is lots of fun. “There’s something I wanted to tell you…” she started. I always listen when she speaks.
“There are many people who really, really celebrate Christmas,” she began and unashamedly pointed to me. Oh, I do! I love, love LOVE Christmas! My tree goes up the first of November and comes down at the end of January. I love the colors, the lights, the tree decorations. I love the movies and the candles. We don’t buy presents; we celebrate the love and the feeling of the season.
Jen knows I love, love, LOVE Christmas.
She had been reading an article somewhere and it had her thinking. This is what she shared: “Most of us make such a big deal about Jesus’ birth. We plan for weeks, sometimes months for Christmas-decorating inside and outside of our homes. Yet we give little thought to His death and resurrection. Our homes are decorated with bunnies-if at all. We have Easter Dinner and have an Easter egg hunt.”
She paused. “Jesus did not tell us to remember or celebrate His birth but He did tell us to remember His death.” She went on to say that her family is going to be more focused on Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection this year. She ordered yard signs proclaiming the good news that Jesus rose from the grave.
My hand was still over my mouth, tears rolling. I was so very convicted. It was true. How could I have missed this?
I thank the Lord every single morning for saving me. (It was on August 20, 1971, in Jerry Bottom of Huddy, KY, on a brown and white couch, with my big sister right beside me.) I gave all of my eight-and-a-half-year-old heart to Jesus that day and am eternally thankful. Fifty plus years later, God’s unconditional love still blows my mind. His Word changes my life every day, often taking my breath. But, the gift of His One and Only Son changed EVERYTHING! Yes, it began at His birth, but He came to die.
If I’m honest, there were times years ago when I fixated more on the Easter dinner than the reason for the celebration. I dwelt on the oven temp for the ham more than the sacrifice of the Perfect Lamb. Many was the time when my mind was so focused on the Easter meal and outfits, that I missed the Easter message. (I couldn’t have recounted a word of the sermon.)
Nowadays, I dig into Scripture specifically about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ during Holy Week. We drape a red cloth over the outside of our door symbolizing the blood painted on the doorposts of the Israelites in Egypt for Passover. That’s something, but nothing compared to my prep for Christmas.
At Christmastime, when people pass the parsonage, they know we are celebrating Jesus’ birth. Now I want passersby to know at Eastertime that we are celebrating Jesus’ Resurrection! So far, I’m working on a great big yard sign that says “He is RISEN!”
I don’t have an answer yet about how this will change things, but I know it will. This best day ever has to be acknowledged…celebrated…PROCLAIMED!