Easter is my favorite holiday - it has always been my favorite holiday. I love everything about it. I love that it is in spring when the weather is getting warmer (although here in Colorado, we have had many snowy Easters), the plants are coming up, flowers are beginning to appear in stores, grass is getting green and soon I can spend all my spare time playing in the dirt. I love coloring eggs and egg hunts (so do my kids and they are 27 and 29). I love planning and shopping for Easter baskets. It is much more relaxing than Christmas, there are not endless parties and one more gift to buy and cards to send out and cookies to bake and boxes of decorations to bring out and on and on. Don't get me wrong, I do like Christmas and can go overboard, but Easter is much more relaxed.
I also enjoy Lent. I was not familiar with Lent while I was growing up, Baptists sort of skim over this season. It was not until I married a Lutheran and started going to a Lutheran church that I was introduced to Lent and all its wonders. Our church has Lenten meals and services on Wednesday and I love these services - we use the Holden Evening Service and the music is beautiful. I also get to see my church family in the middle of the week and it reminds me of growing up Baptist -we went to church on Wednesday nights for prayer meetings and Pioneer Girls.
I also love giving up (or adding something) for Lent. It took me awhile to get into this, it didn't seem important to me until I started listening to the Lenten message. Lent is a journey to faith, a journey to the promises that come with Easter morning and giving up or adding something is dedicating yourself to that journey. We are instructed to pray and fast and give during Lent. When you think about these things everyday and make the decision everyday to not snack between meals or not buy anything new or not go out to eat or to walk 2 miles a day it gives you pause to consider what Christ gave up and gave to us. I pray everyday, but this year we were challenged to pray for someone we have trouble with, a thorn in our sides. It is not as easy to ask God to bless and prosper someone who is giving you grief - a humbling experience for me.
Palm Sunday service was beautiful (even if the weather was cold and we couldn't parade around the church with our palms - the children paraded inside - next year Kaiden can join in). The music was glorious - both the children and adult choirs and bell choirs performed. We will also have Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. On Saturday we have a prayer vigil. It is such a wonderful experience to go into the quiet church and pray.
I love all the commercial things about Easter and the promise Easter brings to us, but it is Lent that has taught me the most about my Gods love for me. I am sorry it is only for 6 weeks.