This week leading up to Easter is Holy Week. Where we reflect on what Jesus did so unselfishly to save us from our sins. Such a brief sentence for such a monumental event.
I’ve been selfish. So selfish in past years. I have felt guilty on Easter Sunday mornings for the gift that I turned my back on for so many years. I didn't feel worthy of this gift because I was constantly choosing to find fulfillment in alcohol instead of taking it to the cross. The guilt and shame on Easter was really hard. So, I chose to numb and ignore. I’m so glad I have let go of all that and feel joy, pure joy on Easter now.
My story this year started with Lent. I told myself I was giving up candy (aka sweets) for Lent. That lasted two days. I realize now I had made that commitment for personal gain, selfish reasons. I was in a sugar binge rut and was going to use this to get me out of it. Wrong approach.
How often do we commit to something and say it is for the Lord, but there is personal gain to be had? If I look back on my life, I can see where I’ve done that often with bad habits.
So here I was thinking candy, mostly Cadbury, when I looked forward to Easter (and indulging because I had already caved on my lent commitment.) Those Cadbury Eggs are my absolute favorite in the world. They even trump Costco cake! I usually get resentful when holiday stuff appears on the shelves so long before the holiday. Like seeing Christmas displays in August really fries me. I always think, “Let me have Fall first!” Not Easter though: when those Eggs hit the shelves in February I am all for it and support the sales well. I make it my job to know which stores have them and which don’t. I even know who’s running low. They also make the little ones that come in a dozen. Cute, but not the same effect, if you ask me.
Ok, quick story here, then I’ll stop with the eggs. One time, a friend of ours in the candy business (you know who you are) gave me a case, a case of Cadbury eggs. Which I promptly put in the freezer. Then, I could regulate my intake and would at least have to wait for the egg to thaw when I had one. Guess what, you can eat them frozen and I did. I blew through the whole box in an embarrassing amount of time. It was obvious too because my butt took on the shape of one large Cadbury Egg - that took some hard work to downsize. I still love em though.
I’ve had to get off the C is for Cadbury and candy way of thinking. On Sunday, in church, it came to me. C is for Christ, Crucifixion, Cross, Communion, Celebration, Church, and Confession! There's more where that came from, but you get the idea.
I gave up candy this week for all the right reasons this time. To focus on the other C’s. Those first two were bringing me down and the guilt of indulgence was keeping me locked in drama that took me away from him. I have been rewarded with a peace that has made it easier to focus on the real reasons for Easter this week. I know what you're thinking, “All this over Easter candy?" Yup, because that's how my addictive brain works. Nothing in moderation. So, instead I'm choosing to obsess over the seven C’s I listed. One for every day. Letting his uttermost love fill me with all I need.
Slowly, I have come around and, in the past few years, have embraced Easter for the gift that it is. I have chosen to do a devotional every day this week leading up to the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. Spending more quiet time thinking about the pain he endured for me, so undeserving.
The devotion I am reading stresses his uttermost love for me. What a word to describe love. It’s huge to me.
Now I love my husband, my children, and my grandson to the uttermost. I know I would lay down my life for any one of them. I cannot imagine doing that for someone I don’t know, someone that has hurt me deeply, an enemy, I’m sure you can see where this is going.
How about those people that forgive someone who has harmed or killed someone they love? When I hear those stories I quite often think to myself, “I don’t know if I could do that.” In all these scenarios Jesus stepped up. Doesn't matter who you are, he died a brutal death just for you. This well known verse sums it all up.
I love all the candy and children in their Easter finery. The family gathering and the spiral ham, there is nothing wrong with loving any of that. As long as you remember what Easter is really all about. Start it out with church, maybe even a sunrise service. Then celebrate all day long!
Speaking of Church, GO! Then maybe go again. For all he did for us, I don’t think an hour or two of worship a week is too much to ask. Ok, don’t mean to get preachy but I just wanted to get that out there. I guarantee you that whenever you go you will hear something intended just for you. Just like I heard some new C words this past Sunday…
Blessings on your Easter!