I like to do fun crafts and things to help hold my kids attention while they're learning so we used our Resurrection Eggs from FamilyLife and enjoyed dying some as we talked through the dozen eggs that recount the days leading up to and the days following Christ's crucifixion. It starts with the donkey that Jesus rode in on and ends with the egg that has nothing in it, symbolizing the empty tomb that we were all celebrating on Sunday. It is fun to see my kids starting to "get it" and being able to really talk through what Jesus has done for us.
This was the first year that Peyton and Lawson came in for the Good Friday service. I was so glad that they were with us as we remembered all that Jesus suffered through on our behalf. And what a blessing it was to be able to wake up and worship our God corporately on Sunday morning. The songs were poignant, the message was "right on" in its topic of belief and doubt so I sat there filled with thankfulness for the freedom to worship my God publicly. I was so grateful for the perspective from which the message was spoken. Doubting Thomas--we've all heard of him and we all can certainly relate to him, because we've all got questions, we all have doubts, we all have things that we don't fully and completely trust God with. We can certainly sympathize with Thomas' doubt but as we read the passage (John 20:24-29) it was pretty awesome to watch Jesus respond to Thomas' exact barriers of belief. A week prior, Thomas had made a big statement to some of the disciples in verse 25 - "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." Well, in perfect Jesus fashion, He met Thomas' unbelief head on. A week after this statement was spoken, Jesus arrived on the scene and being omniscient as His nature is, in His merciful and gracious way, he specifically and precisely responds to Thomas' doubts knowing every thought and doubt that Thomas had said days earlier. So Jesus said, "put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." I love how Jesus never cowers at our unbelief, He meets it head on and He desires for us to simply trust and believe. And really, He's provided ample evidence for us to believe. There are so many prophesies that were written many years before that Christ fulfilled (Isaiah 53 says, "He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering and familiar with pain.") Thomas had placed conditions upon his belief in God, so when these questions were posed by our Pastor, "what conditions have I myself placed on God and who do I say Jesus is"--I was very convicted. These two questions were what stuck out to me from the whole message. The first one is not easily answered or quickly summed up so it will take me some time of introspection but the second question is pretty easily answered. Jesus is the only Savior, He was there when the world was created, He will judge the living and the dead, He is gentle and kind and He's calling all of us to believe. I'm so thankful for His sacrifice, for His willingness to suffer for my sins and for the fact that He has now given me access to God. What a blessing, what an unbelievable gift He has given me--all of us really! What a miracle--what a true God thing that He is in fact risen, He is risen indeed!
We did have a fun afternoon of eating, playing and visiting with friends and family. Over the past year Adam and I have gotten the privilege of getting to know a sweet Rwandan family who joined us for our Easter celebration. I think the kids all had a great time even though we had to move our egg hunt indoors. I was bummed that the weather did not cooperate with us, but it didn't put a damper on the kids spirits!
This picture was taken with my self timer after we got home because I'd forgotten to get someone at my Mom's house to take one for us. Poor Ava Jane fell asleep on the five minute drive home so this is the best we could get!
I hope that you and yours had a wonderful time together but most of all I hope you encountered the living and risen Savior. It is because of Him and through Him that we have hope!