In an ordinary year, Easter would be a time to gather with family for egg hunts and holiday meals. Normally, we’d be sure to get to church early because it’d be crammed with visitors. Kids would be wearing their best clothes—sometimes brand new, extra fancy clothes bought especially for the family portraits sure to follow.
Besides the fun of hosting an egg hunt for my kids and their cousins, one of the things I’ll miss the most this year is the power of singing resurrection hymns in a great gathering. I can still hear my dad singing with gusto, “Up from the grave he arose!” We usually sang that hymn only at Easter.
What about this year? With no gathering due to the quarantine, how can we celebrate in a way that is still meaningful and memorable?
Jesus Has Overcome This Trouble
Jesus proclaimed, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). In this world, we do have trouble. Some of us have lately lost loved ones to the coronavirus, or those close to us are ill. Some may be truly confined to their homes because of contracting or being exposed to the virus.
To date, my family has had little exposure to the virus and little impact other than the shelter-in-place orders. My kids have been home from school for three weeks, and my husband and I have both been working from home. While I’m grateful for the safety we’ve enjoyed so far, along with adequate shelter and food, we are going a bit stir crazy.
It’s important to acknowledge that losing the opportunity to celebrate Easter with family and our church is a form of true suffering.
This Easter, we have a chance to experience that Christ is risen—that he has overcome the troubles of this world—in new ways. Those ways will likely be quieter and seem smaller, but we can bring our whole hearts to the table.
As we are reordering our Easter celebrations—and Maundy Thursday and Good Friday—we have a chance to remember what’s most important. Of course, we can still celebrate Easter without going to the physical church building! Many churches have services online. Consider participating in these and also choosing something to do on your own initiative.
Thanksgiving as a Sacrifice
Perhaps the most important question we can be asking ourselves is this: What would most honor God this Easter?
“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me” (Psalm 50:23).
In times of trouble, thanksgiving is either left by the wayside or it becomes your walking stick. If you’ve left off giving thanks and have made complaining your companion, consider going back to pick up that practice of sincerely thanking God for the good in your life.
One practical way to do this might be to reflect as a family—perhaps around an Easter dinner—about the ways God has brought blessings during the pandemic. We know that he is always working, using even things designed for evil, to do his good on the earth.
It can feel like a sacrifice to give thanks when there is a lot of pain in your life. God is honored by that sacrifice. And consider that the time when you most need a walking stick is when the road is the hardest.
Letting Easter Affect Our Thinking
What else would honor God this Easter?
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).
If you’re anything like my family, quarantine brings out both your best and your worst self. They say that when you’re pressed, your insides come out, like a tube of toothpaste. I’ve had some very sweet times with my family. But other times, some very ill-tasting toothpaste has come out of me.
Colossians 3 includes some very practical details on how to treat each other in a Christ-like manner. But before he goes there, Paul stops to remind his readers that we must set our minds on things above. I know that in my busyness (and yes, I am one of those who is much busier in quarantine than I was before) and in my distraction, I often skip this step.
If then you have been raised with Christ… This is the core of the Easter message. Christ is risen, and he is raising us up with him!
Seek the things that are above, where Christ is… Jesus told us to seek first God’s Kingdom and his righteousness, and all the other stuff that matters to us will be taken care of. This Easter weekend, let’s bring all those worries to the feet of the Risen Lord. And let’s consider how we can align our lives with the things that he is doing.
…seated at the right hand of God. Easter is a celebration that Jesus died for us and was rescued by his father, God, and set in place to reign with him for eternity. Because Jesus is there, and we are one with Christ, we too are seated with the Father, even now! That is truly something to celebrate!
This Easter, let’s bring our whole, thankful hearts to the table, even though it’s a smaller, quieter table than we might be used to. Let’s engage our minds and our words in reminding ourselves of the powerful truth: we are one with the Risen Lord!
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/didoi
Allie Boman is a wife, mom, follower of Jesus and freelance writer in the Chicago area. She served for fifteen years with Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship and studied classical piano in college. She loves to cook ethnic food and explore new places with her family. Her personal blog is QuickReads.blog. She’d love to connect with you!