We’ve spent the last three days preparing, praying, and praising the miracle of the resurrection of Christ. Today is the fourth day. Has anything changed in your spirit? Christ resurrected, spent 40 days walking on earth, teaching and then ascended. Now we are the church; the body of Christ. We live each “fourth day” with the Holy Spirit to give us power over temptation and discernment in the twists and turns of life.
Easter much like Christmas is a wonderfully holy time for believers. And like Christmas, I struggle to find the reverent feeling that aligns my heart and soul with the massive significance of the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Like Christmas, there are many preparations to be made for family and friends to come over. It’s too easy to be distracted.
Tomorrow is Thursday – the day of the last supper – can I merge my thoughts for our own family supper with that of the message of Christ on that last eve?
Friday is when he was crucified and died – Matthew 27. This lends itself to me having a quiet, reflective day. Or perhaps, I will fast something on Friday in order to remember the day’s events.
Saturday is tucked in the middle. Jesus was buried before the sun set on Friday and Saturday was the Sabbath by the Jewish people. There were guards posted at the tomb.
Sunday started early with Mary Magdalene and the other Mary going to the tomb to do the final burial preparations. From there the events began to unfold. There was the angel who told the women to not be afraid (we’ve heard that before), and the guards report to the chief priests (and they still didn’t recognized prophecy fulfilled).
Just as his birth marked a new time beginning, his resurrection marked another significant moment in time. We have one more moment we continue to wait for. It’s not a moment we will plan a holiday or family meal around. His return will be in power and glory and will stop time and complete His purpose.
So this is Holy week, how will you recognize and remember the profound change in human history Christ’s death and resurrection gave us?
On December 24, 1999, I sat in a candle-lit church sanctuary. My stomach was rounded by the second trimester of pregnancy with my first child, a son. The vocalist came out and began to sing, “Mary did you know?” The song goes through all of the wonderfully miraculous things Jesus, the child she would carry and deliver, would do. The song crescendos with how her son would deliver her and the world from their sins.
Believe me, I have no delusions about my own son. He is a normal boy who has been loved and disciplined along the way. Nowhere close to the perfection of Christ. But years ago, sitting there listening to all of the things the Christ-child would do only reminded me of all the things my child might do for Christ. How would my baby’s life play into the kingdom?
If you are pregnant at Christmas this year, or have young children, look at them just as Mary looked at her son who had a divine appointment from inception. Our children have a purpose for the glory of God. Pour into them the scriptures. Pray for God to reveal to them their role in His plan.
My son is 14 now and we are going through some of the stuff teen-agers experience. When he hits a bump in the road I don’t pretend to have all the wisdom and answers. Sometimes I sleep on a big question or difficult request. He knows it too. He knows that if I don’t have the answer, I’m going to pray about it and get back to him. I hope this is a lesson that is more caught than taught. May he continue to grow-up knowing that while we don’t have all the answers, God does.
The seeds are planted and each day I cling to Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
I wonder, how did Mary pray for her child? God incarnate. She was young and innocent. So much of what Christ experienced had never been seen before. She had no earthly reference point. But she had the scriptures and the prophecies. God gives what we need.
Unlike the Christ-child, our children will make mistakes and make bad choices. Haven’t we all. May they all land in the loving arms of Christ who was once a baby and then a man who grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52).
Mother did you know?
P.S. — Enjoy this video while you pray for your child or children, Mary Did You Know? (Pentatonix free download)
The first Bible verse I remember having to memorize is Isaiah 9:6 which reads:
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (NIV)
It was the first year I was in a Christian school (6th grade) and we memorized this verse to be presented at our Christmas program. I don’t remember what songs we sang, but I remember the auditorium, where I was standing and how wonderful it felt to have one verse of God’s word tucked away in my heart. Our class was small and many of the others students had grown up memorizing scripture so this wasn’t new to them. For me it was like opening a treasure box.
Over the years that followed, I memorized many other verses from the Bible; some motivated by grades to be earned and others memorized out of hunger and thirst for the Word. Many I can still quote. But Isaiah’s words were planted in an eager young person’s heart and have never left. These seeds that were planted took root.
At Christmas, I am reminded of the awesome miracle in Christ’s birth. I am also reminded that his birth was the beginning of a 33 year journey that includes the hardest times any human could imagine and the most glorious moments that only God could ordain; all of which was revealed to me with Isaiah’s words.
The remnants of sand and dirt felt crusty on Mary’s face from the long day’s journey and the ebb and flow of pain and sweat. The hard pain – the overwhelming stench – the crowds. An hour from town there are tribes setting up camp everywhere. How many more are crammed into this small town, Bethlehem? The noise pounding in her head – the pains coming closer and closer. Oh, to just lie down.
Mary waited outside the inn for what seemed an eternity for Joseph to return. His demeanor screamed as loud as Mary’s pain that he had failed. There were no rooms. The best he could provide was the privacy of the innkeeper’s barn. A gentle touch on the shoulder from Joseph reminded Mary that he had done his best and was sorry it wasn’t better. He wasn’t in charge of how the events of this night were unfolding. The final steps to their accommodations were the worst on Mary’s swollen feet.
Joseph slid the barn door open only to gag from the disgusting odor. Seems the barn was as full as the streets with visitors. Asking one final thing of Mary, to wait in the fresher air outside while he found some straw and made bedding for her. She submitted to her betrothed. He didn’t sign up for this, but he certainly stepped up.
Together they slowly and gingerly walked in out of the cool night. As he helped Mary lie down, she let out a scream from the pain. Finally, free to let out the truth and anguish she felt. The animals rustled and made noises like an out of tune orchestra. Upon noticing their unexpected human guest, as if they knew who they were hosting, they laid down and became still. As she settled in and became accustomed to the smells, sights and sounds. She prayed. God, we wanted better for your son.
It was a long and unfamiliar night for both Mary and Joseph; Mary too young to know much about birthing a child and Joseph too innocent. Men didn’t get involved when a baby was coming. But tonight was not about tradition or decorum – it was about changing the world – it was about hope and eternity colliding with all that humans thought was “normal”. A new covenant squeezed into this night.
His birth wasn’t pretty. Jesus joined humanity as a wiggly, slippery baby. Mary was scared but led by what came instinctive and natural. Joseph was awkwardly doing his best to provide blankets and a towel to wash the boy who would return the favor someday.
This night didn’t feel very holy, but it was real. No airs or regal greeting parties for the King of Kings. His mother felt the pains, his earthly father the helplessness, him the trauma every human baby in history feels during birth. It was the heavenly Father who felt joy knowing He sent an invitation through Jesus. He knew he would get his son back and when He did, Jesus would bring all of the rest of His children.
The night was finally silent. Mary could breathe without pain. Joseph settled in next to his family. For the first time since Genesis the world would be still and rest in the hope of Him who came to love, serve and save.
May every night of your coming days bring stillness, hope and peace in Jesus Christ.
Happy Birthday, Jesus.