Thanking God for the Miracle of Life

“He is not here; he has risen!”—Luke 24:6 (NIV).

http://impactoevangelistico.net

The fourth grade students filed into the Sunday school class and took their seats. Excitement permeated the air as the girls admired each other’s frilly dresses. The boys pulled at their uncomfortable neckties worn only for this special occasion. Both groups, however, chattered about the dyed eggs, chocolate candy and other goodies they’d found in their Easter baskets that morning.

The teacher wanted her students to understand that Easter was more than new clothes, bunny rabbits and chocolate eggs. She read the story of Jesus’ death on the cross, His burial in the tomb and the reality of His resurrection three days later. To reinforce the lesson, she gave each of her students a plastic egg and explained they were going to take a walk outside where they were to find one sign of life and place it in their egg.

As the students filed out the door, the teacher noticed a young boy with Down syndrome who had been attending class for a while. With his sunny disposition and constant smile, Danny was the epitome of unconditional love that God has for His children. However, it broke the teacher’s heart when the other children made fun of him. Of course, she always corrected them and attempted to help them see how special Danny was. The youngster appeared unaware of their taunts and considered each child his “buddy.”

When they returned from their walk, each student shared with the class what they’d found. One student’s egg contained a butterfly. Another egg held a worm. Other students had collected blades of grass, flowers, leaves and twigs. Only one egg had nothing in it. The students giggled because they knew whose egg it was. Silencing the students with a look, the teacher asked Danny why he had not put anything representing a sign of life in his egg.

Grinning, Danny responded, “Because the tomb was empty.”

As this often shared story demonstrates, the little boy with Down syndrome had grasped the significant truth of Easter. The tomb was empty, an ultimate sign of life and an incomparable miracle.

A miracle indeed! Jesus Christ had risen from the dead. With their own eyes, the women who had seen Him die on the cross and prepared His body for burial on Friday saw the empty tomb three days later. Jesus had kept His promise.

Pastor and author Max Lucado says, “And, as we envision the moment, we stand in awe.We stand in awe not just because of what we see, but because of what we know… We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us” (Rom. 6:5–9 MSG).

Spend some time this Easter weekend thanking God for the miracle of life. Then, share the good news with someone else: The tomb is empty! He is risen! He is risen indeed!

I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to leave a comment below or email me at carol@carolaround.com.  Also, if this blog post has touched you, would you please share it with others? It is the greatest gift you can give to a writer.

More than Bunnies and Baskets

“Jesus replied, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified’”—John 12:23 (NIV).

Lifespring.com

Writing this, I’m distracted by the view outside my office window. A cardinal is enjoying my bird bath while a red-headed woodpecker is gorging at the suet feeder. The difference in these two is a reminder of God’s amazing grace. He didn’t have to create such diverse beauty. But He did.

As we enter Holy Week, I’m reminded of another thing God didn’t have to do. But He did. He sent His only Son to die for our sins. How amazing is His grace!

In an article by writer Cheryl Magness, she offers eight simple Holy Week observances to prepare us for Easter.  She says, “Easter is about more than bunnies and baskets. Here’s how you can transcend the commercial, and spend more time reverently preparing for Easter Sunday.”

  1. Observe Palm Sunday by attending church. Palm Sunday was a turning point in Jesus’ ministry and life. Riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus was hailed as a King. His followers waved and then threw down palm branches in His path. Five days later, they deserted Him.
  2. During Holy Week, listen to sacred music.
  3. Read the narration of the story of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection by reading through one of the gospels. Magness suggests the gospel of Luke.
  4. Attend other Holy Week services. Says Magness, “Holy Week is framed by Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, but what happens between is what makes the Sundays make sense. Many churches offer other Holy Week services.” Those days include Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil. While not all churches observe these, try to find one that does.
  5. Observe a Mini-Lenten if you didn’t get around to participating in a Lenten discipline. Magness suggests engaging in an act of sacrifice or devotion beginning Palm Sunday and carrying through Easter Sunday. Give up something for that week or commit to a daily activity, like a Bible reading plan, to help your mind focus on Holy Week.
  6. Participate in a mini-fast, either full or modified starting from the end of Good Friday worship through sundown on Saturday. Magness says, “You don’t have to give up all sustenance to reap the spiritual benefit of fasting.” You might simply eat less, eat more simply or even skip a meal to draw you closer to the Lord.
  7. Unplug your TV, shut down the computer and cell phone and sign off social media. Doing one or more could also be one of your Holy Week disciplines to stay tuned in to God’s amazing story.
  8. If you do decide to stay plugged in, use your social media to proclaim the week’s events through Bible passages and links to articles about God’s mercy and promises to redeem His creation.

“The list above is not meant to be a burden but a blessing,” she adds. God’s not keeping score. But don’t miss church on Easter Sunday where you’ll hear of God’s unconditional love for you.

I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to leave a comment below or email me at carol@carolaround.com.  Also, if this blog post has touched you, would you please share it with others? It is the greatest gift you can give to a writer.