Holy Week has come and gone. Meals were prepared and devoured. Eggs were hunted and captured. Services were attended. Leftovers were packed into little plastic containers and shipped off to an array of friends and relatives who will probably secretly nibble the kids’ candy instead.
But what else will we take away from this past week into the next season?
Holiday customs and traditions often bring our relationships into close orbit for a time. Hopefully that was a blessing to you. But maybe you were easily angered or annoyed by another’s behavior or comments. Maybe you felt guilted into serving in some capacity that you didn’t particularly want to. Maybe you were overtired or overstressed.
If so, I encourage you to step back before fully re-entering your routine and reflect on what we’ve just celebrated.
Freedom. Passover commemorates the deliverance of the Hebrew people from years of slavery and oppression.
Remembrance of that rescue and liberation serves as a reminder that we do not walk alone in times of distress or discomfort. Hold on to this perspective—the part that reminds you of your many blessings—and let it carry you forward with endurance and joy.
Try not to step on other people’s joy by oppressing them with anger, sarcasm, or a crabby-patty attitude. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, point of view or favorite TV show. Express yourself in humility. We’ll each be back to our own DVR schedule soon enough.
Forgiveness. The events of Good Friday offer forgiveness and renewal, an opportunity to be set right. A gift. In his book, Handbook of Forgiveness, Dr. Everett Worthington states, “Forgiveness often begins with a decision to forgive, even when a person’s emotions aren’t in line with that decision.”
Let that statement settle in, penetrate your soul and prompt to you make some decisions to forgive some people that you don’t really “feel” like forgiving—a guy who cut you off in traffic, a relative who made a snide comment about your kid, a neighbor whose pet keeps dumping on your lawn. You get the idea. Start small. Try it out. Let some things go and move on.
Hope. Ultimately, Easter Sunday offers hope. When you finish vacuuming up endless Easter grass, snarfing down fistfuls of jellybeans and scrubbing Easter egg dye out of junior’s white shirt, remember it’s a holiday of hope.
Somebody cares about you. Certain people are in our lives for a reason. They may be there to teach us how to be more humble, gentle, compassionate, forgiving and self-controlled. They may be there to point us toward a reason for hope.
Grab onto that hope. Put it into practice by sharing it with others.
Be an encourager, somebody’s shoulder, a smiling face on a dark day. Let hope define you. After all, we got together to celebrate much more than eggs and candy.
I asked for submitted photos with a 'hope' theme for next week's column. My friend Brenda Score sent these great pics to include.