Easter is the most important holiday of our faith. Everything we believe rides on the events of Easter morning. It wasn’t until a few years ago (and largely because of reading “The Jesus I Never Knew” by Philip Yancey) that I truly started to realize the importance. Once I felt the weight of the holiday in a new way, I also started to see that I wasn’t giving it the attention it fully deserved. I started to suspect it (I) was this way because, culturally, we just don’t put as much emphasis on Easter, especially compared to Christmas. Yes, they’re both only one day, yet Christmas is really a season. There are more preparations, more festivities, more time off from work, etc. As a result, it feels more important. I started to see how, in my own life, Easter was getting lost in egg hunts and bunnies (Of course, there’s nothing wrong with those things!). To be completely honest, Easter felt like another to-do item on an already busy weekend, rather than the focal point of everything I believed and am hoping in. Once I realized my lack of reverence, I set out to change my ways. How could I incorporate a more Christmas-like spirit into Easter? In so many ways, I found my answer in Lent. Celebrating Lent in the weeks leading up to Easter has become a very important part of my walk with God. It prepares my heart. It gives me time to contemplate. It gives me time to consider.
Most of my Lent activities I do on my own, but there is one that we do together as a family. We decorate an Easter tree. We’ve only done it a couple of years but it’s already become one of our favorite traditions. We use Ann Voskamp’s “Trail to the Tree” Easter devotional. It’s such a great resource – and the best part is you can download it for free on her website! It has about 20 devotions, with accompanying artwork, that tell of Jesus using stories from both the New and Old Testament. Like all of Ann’s writings, it’s a very lyrical devotion, but my family loves it. In the weeks leading up to Easter, we read one devotion per day and then hang up the matching artwork. By Easter, we have God’s story hanging in beautiful pictures before us. It’s a powerful visual reminder. This is what Easter is about.
Here’s how I put it together.
First, we printed out the document and had it spiral bound at the local office supply store. We printed out all the artwork in color, glued them onto pastel scrapbook paper and then I lamented them. Finally, I tied them with pretty ribbons.
Then I set up the tree using wooden sticks and a tin “vase” from the craft store. We decorate the tree with a few birds and Easter egg decorations.
I noticed there’s a new Easter/Lent devotion this year on Ann’s website but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I’m sure it’s another great resource.
It’s a struggle, but we’ll never regret focusing on the reason for the HOLY day.
Do you have any meaningful Easter traditions? Please share in the comments!