Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our Easter Celebration

The day of Easter was a beautiful day of celebration. Not a day of egg hunts and Easter bunnies, but a day to celebrate His life. To celebrate His resurrection. Today was a day that we came to the Lord with thanksgiving and praise.
I am just so thankful. I really can't put it into words. My mind can't really comprehend that Christ would sacrifice himself, would be beaten and nailed to the cross for me. I am nothing. I am just a lowly sinner. I really can't think about it without getting all emotional.
    But, praise be to God! Christ lives again!
He has rolled the stone away! The tomb is empty!  
    They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Luke 24:2-3)
"...Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!..." (Luke 24:5-6 )

I will have to just say, I think Easter is pretty much my favorite celebration, because on this day we celebrate life. We celebrate our new life, and we celebrate His life.

To celebrate (wow, I'm using that word a lot!) Easter, we have a Passover or Seder meal. We feast! But with food that represents Christ. Before we begin our "feast" feast, we have a sample of each food, we read, we ask questions, we pray. We enjoy the presence of the Lord.

 There are four questions that are asked by the children. I like that we do this, it helps us feel more involved and helps the children pay more attention as Dad answers the question that are asked.

"Why are we eating unleavened bread, or matzah, tonight?"
"We eat matzah because tonight we remember Jesus, by whose stripes we are healed. Yeast leavens or puffs up, as pride and sin inflates our hearts."
 The matzah is a reminder of when the Israelites fled from Egypt. They did not have time to wait on the yeast to leaven the bread. (Exodus 12:17&34) They had to be ready when God made the call to flee, just as we as Christians should be ready for Christ's return. The matzah represents the sinlessness of Christ.

"Why are we eating bitter herbs?"
"To remember the bitterness of the cruel slavery of the Isrealites to Pharaoh, to recall the bitterness of our ugly bondage to sin."
The bitter herbs are a reminder to us of how Christ, the Lamb, suffered for us and took up our bitter sin.
"Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)
 They represent the cost of our redemption. 

"Why tonight do we dip our greens twice?"
(First we dip the Karpas or greens in salt water and than in the Charoset.)
"We first dip them in salt water, representing the salty tears the Isrealites shed of their slavery. We dip them a second time in the sweet apples, reminding us of the hope we have in Christ because he died for us. We wipe away our salty tears and sweetly rejoice for our new life in Christ."
The green of the Karpas reminds us of the new life and rebirth in Spring but also serves as a reminder of our new life and rebirth in Jesus. 
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
 (2 Corinthians  5:17)

 This is when we serve the juice of the vine. There is one single cup in the center, the cup of Elijah. We share this one cup, passing it from person to person, sharing it. Just as we share in the freedom and mercy and love of our Messiah.

"Why are we eating this meal reclining?"
"Because Jesus has bought our freedom, we are no longer slaves but children of the one and only King. Free men, people of royalty lean back, recline, while eating. We as free people recline, just as Jesus did at the Last Supper."
We are His children! We are royal!
"...They will sparkle in [the Lord's] land like jewels in a crown." (Zechariah 9:16)

We then serve The Sacrifice. The lamb. Of course this represents Jesus. Before He died for us we had to continually sacrifice animals in atonement for our sins. But Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice. He was beaten, slandered, mocked, nailed to the cross so that we might have life. True, new eternal life.
"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring to you to God..."
 (1 Peter 3:18) 

We eat in the low, flickering light of the white candles, reminding us of  how Christ washed us white as snow. How He washed away our crimson stains and made us pure.

After this nice little ceremony, we stuff ourselves with more of everything we ate during it, (except maybe the bitter herbs and salt water) buttery mashed potatoes, sugar glazed carrots, and for dessert.... Delicious homemade cream filled eggs, chocolate truffles and healthy lollipops! 

It is so nice to have a Christ centered Easter and not have to worry about the distractions of what the media has made it about. 
I praise the Lord everyday for what he has done for us! I don't deserve to live. I don't deserve anything I have, but because of God's mercy and grace and love He has renewed me and blessed me greatly.

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.
Praise God in His sanctuary;
praise Him in His mighty heavens.
Praise Him for his acts of power;
praise Him for His surpassing greatness.
Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise Him with the harp and lyre,
praise Him with tambourine and dancing,
praise Him with the strings and flute,
praise Him with the clash of cymbals,
praise Him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord

How was your Easter celebration? 
Do you know the Lord as your personal Savior?