Good Friday. I had been looking forward to attending our church's beautiful, reflective, Christ-at-Center Good Friday service. That service is a highlight of my Easter celebration every year. The week prior, however, had been standardized-testing week. We were all quite on-the-edge, and quite frankly, exhausted by Friday. Though I wanted to go to the service Friday night, I was pretty sure it would REALLY be pushing it.
"Baby's 1st Easter"
I remember last year, that I had wished I'd have begun a tradition of making Hot Crossed Buns on Good Friday. So, this year, I went ahead and went for it. They take a few hours to make, so I got them started and then put the babies down for their naps--the first afternoon naps they'd gotten to take in their own beds all week because of testing. While the babies napped and the bun dough was raising, I pulled out The Jesus Film, and watched it with the three older boys. It was the first time they'd ever seen it, and I know they will always remember. It was really, really special to have that experience with them. After it was finished, we were all pretty somber. The boys asked to paint. We pulled out watercolor pans and large sheets of white paper. They painted in response to what they'd just watched. The results were heartfelt and beautiful.
I finished the Hot Cross Buns, Tony got home from work, and we all sat down to a nourishing family meal with yummy buns for dessert. What a relief and joy after a hard week--time for just home and family. A couple of the boys and I decided to walk some plates of buns down to a neighbor family and neighbor widow. The family wasn't at home, so we left their plate on their porch as a surprise for them. Our sweet, sweet neighbor widow, insisted we come into her home so she could give us a tour, visit, and show us some things. She showed us paintings her grandmother had done and told us the stories behind them. She showed us pictures of her late husband and told us stories about him. She showed us a picture of them together--young and beautiful. It was one of those visits that bridges the generations, and you get the sense of time and life and purpose. We walked home in the dark--two delighted little boys and their pensive but happy mommy.
Holy Saturday. We woke up to SNOW. Not flurries, but bona-fide snow showers and four inches of accumulation added to our two feet still in the yard. It snowed the entire day. The temptation was to be sour and glum over the ever-elusive spring break-up. However, after praying and thinking and reading some wonderful words of encouragement, I realized how fitting it was for it to be gray and snowing. I chose to....and began to see the beauty. I saw this transformed, white world as a metaphor for what my Jesus has done for me. He has made me white as snow, though my sins were as scarlet. The gray skies reminded me of the sadness over my King's death. The falling snow reminded me of the tears Father God surely shed as He watched His Son, bleeding and suffering the consequences of my sin, as He hung nailed to a piece of wood.
Easter Sunday! We woke to glorious...GLORIOUS sunshine! It was one of the most beautiful sunrises I've ever seen, particularly striking after the prior days "gloom". With all the beauty nature can afford, the message was clear: HE IS RISEN! Four positively electric little boys raced upstairs to find their Easter baskets. I was just sure the baskets were hidden well, as I had duct-taped them to the underside of the kitchen table and put a table cloth on. Eaglet had already found them by the time the other boys woke, however, as he had sat up to the table to draw in the early hours and his knees bumped into them! And I thought I was so clever.
"Secure in his Jesus"
We had a sweet, sweet time with friends after the service...just milling around joyously...and taking fun pictures!
It was a memorable weekend, to be sure. I love Easter time--a time to remember and realize new beginnings--all because of the love of God.