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Having a Fresh Easter Experience This Year

Well, it’s Easter weekend. That holiday that keeps moving around the calendar each year. I think it may be decided by a small group of calendar makers who figure out the worst weekend of the year for most families.

That usually includes the daylight savings weekend, Opening Day of the baseball season, the middle of Spring Break or a Full House marathon.

But no matter the date or the conflicts, Easter is of course one of the two times of year that focus on the core, the foundation, the basics of the Christian faith.

Pastors sometimes bemoan the fact that the Easter and Christmas stories are the same every year and that it’s hard to come up with a fresh perspective and additional insights that would minister to the hundreds, even thousands who often attend.

But the fact that the story hasn’t changed, the better question for any of us including those new to Christianity is, “Will the story change us?” My hunch is that we all come to this weekend a little different than last year. And because we’re not quite the same, we have opportunity to apply Christ’s death and resurrection to our lives in a way distinct from past times.

Let’s say that this past year you and/or you family experienced the loss of a close loved one.  You might resonate with the fact that God lost a close loved one, Jesus, for a time and that He understands grief and loss like you’re facing.

And yet, because Jesus rose again, we too who know Christ will also live forever and all the pain and loss and tears will end. There’s more to living than our existence here.

Or as you know my year included major surgery. It was really painful but nothing like Jesus endured. But I’ll look at his death with a slightly different view of His pain and what He endured for me. And because of that pain, I experience His peace, His provision, His power and His protection.

(You alliterative speakers can have that one for FREE.)

You see, the story is the same, but we don’t have to be.

Maybe you’re struggling financially, trying to find work and not being very successful. So listen for songs in your service or Scriptures in the message that refer to God’s provision and His power, capable of providing for you in ways you can’t imagine.

You may have picked out nice clothes for everyone, planned a special meal for family or friends and bought out the candy aisle at the grocery store telling yourself you’re doing it for the kids when you know most of it will be for you. (NOTE: Hide it well.)

So enjoy those special moments, but be willing to be surprised by God this year as you hear the story in a fresh way. Sometimes your best plans don’t work out anyway. Some years ago I was getting ready to give a message at Easter when I could see a family dressed beautifully come into our foyer just before I was going to speak.

They had missed the beginning of the service. Why? It was the weekend of the time change and they apparently forgot to move their clocks ahead. As they walked in they knew they’d made a mistake and turned around and left.

Well, it’s not time change weekend but something else may get in the way of your wonderful plans. If that happens, that doesn’t have to steal the special meaning of the story this year.

The story is the same, but it’s still the most important one ever. What do little kids often say when you read them a story. “Again, mommy. Again, daddy.” They don’t care. They love it anyway.

So anticipate a new meaning, a new application for you this year. If you’re feeling down about yourself, read I Corinthians 15 which includes in verse ten, “But by the grace of God I am what I am.” Then in verse 57, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Those two realities from the Easter story could change things drastically and give you strength to face even the worst.

So don’t be changing the story. It’s the same this year and that’s actually Good News. But just as important is this: The story can change you!

Happy Easter.

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