The LORD does not look at the things people look at.
People look at the outward appearance,
but the LORD looks at the heart.”
I Samuel 16:7 NIV
I have been Children’s Church Minister at a number of churches over the years. I say “have been” because I have relinquished that position to younger people who have the energy and patience that it most definitely requires! You might more readily understand that statement when I tell you about a class I had on an Easter Sunday which consisted solely of three, four and five year olds…seven of them, to be exact. I think they all had indulged in more Easter candy than they should have, as some were bouncing around like the Easter bunny himself! They all were talking way above their inside voices and one was whining and crying every time anyone looked at him. But, all of that aside, I had planned a very simple Easter program for the entire church congregation, in which even the smaller ones could participate.
The children followed me onto the stage as I donned a festive hat with flowers on it and sang, ♫ “In my Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it” ♫… Then I proceeded to talk about how Easter was all about new spring clothes. The children responded by yelling “Nooo”! I then brought out an Easter bunny and started to sing, ♫ “Here comes Peter Cottontail” ♫…and talked about Easter being about the Easter bunny’s yearly visit. Once again they responded with a very vigorous, “Nooo!” Next I brought out the marshmallow “Peeps” and talked about Easter being about getting lots of candy. Now you know this one must have been hard, but they yelled even louder, “Nooo”! I think you get the picture by now. We then brought out a palm leaf…a cross…and a stone. The children proceeded to give me explanations for each object and we decided that Easter is not about any outward appearances or festivities, but about Jesus death, burial and most of all His resurrection. The other things are fun, but should only stand in the shadow of the true meaning Easter.
Every holiday has become so commercialized now days, that the meaning of the event has become almost totally obscured by the hype and hoopla. We can let ourselves get so caught up in the excitement and/or stress, that we don’t observe the real meaning or enjoy the spiritual refreshing it affords. Searching for that perfect outfit…if not for you, for the kids, getting the basket ready for the Easter bunny to deliver or organizing the egg hunt can leave us too tired to get up for Sunrise Service, let alone enjoy it! I have two words of advice for us all…JUST CHILL! I know things need to be done for the children’s sake, but let’s try to get them done ahead of time so that we can enjoy the day that we have set aside to celebrate the very foundation of our Christian faith…the glorious resurrection of our Lord. Lest the rocks cry out in our stead, let us shout “Hosanna to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords…Our King and Our Lord Jesus Christ!”