Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

A Christ Centered Easter

Several weeks ago I was shoveling snow off the sidewalk in front of my house and I noticed a broken branch hanging from my pear tree. I pulled it off the tree and looked at it carefully.

Somehow, in the midst of winter, this branch had started developing buds.

For some reason seeing those brown buds growing there gave me a great amount of hope.  Winter really was going to end.

I couldn't bear to throw that symbol of hope into the garbage can, so I brought it inside and put it in a small vase with water.

"What are you doing with that?"  Greg asked when he came home?  "It's not going to do anything..."

"What if it does?"  I replied.  "Should we just watch and see?"

A few days ago I walked into the kitchen and noticed a change was taking place.  The brown buds were bursting, and small green balls were poking their tiny heads through the soft fur.

 

If you looked carefully you could see a hint of pink just waiting to blossom.

 

Hope.

Right there in my kitchen.

The reality of it fills my heart every time I walk into the room.

As winter swirls outside my window pane I shift my focus to the hope springing forth from that tiny branch.

It is almost Easter.

A time when we celebrate hope.

Anticipation fills my heart, for Easter means Spring...new life...warmth.

But there is a deeper meaning.

It is a time when we celebrate the atonement of Christ.

This year I want to do things differently.  I want to have a Christ Centered Easter.  I want to begin preparing my heart now for the celebration ahead.

So, for the next few Fridays leading up to Easter the posts on this blog will be focused on the upcoming celebration.  I want to study the people who filled the last moments of the Savior's life on Earth.  What are the lessons we learn from them?  How might understanding these lessons deepen our Easter celebration?

Today my thoughts have been filled with two separate stories.

One that took place in the hours just before Christ died.  The other that took place just after He had risen.

You can't consider those last hours and not be reminded of Judas.  As much as we want to forget that Christ was betrayed by one of His closest friends, we can't.  It is part of the story.

And he teaches us a powerful lesson.

Within his story is a question we must each ask ourselves, Do I take for granted my testimony of the Lord? (Luke 22:3-6 & 47-49)

I don't want to.

I want to be more like Peter and John, running to the tomb after Mary told them it was empty. (John 20:1-10)

Running.

With hope filling their faces and every fiber of their being.

When given an invitation to Come closer to Christ, to know more of Him, I want to come running.

As this Easter approaches, I want to consider the condition of my heart.  I don't want to take for granted my testimony of the Savior and his atonement.

I want to come running.

With hope.

Deliberate Discipleship:

Starting tomorrow, and then for the next five Fridays leading up to Easter you will find traditions that focus on the Savior on this blog.  Perhaps you might use them for a Sunday activity, or a FHE.

...let the celebration of hope begin.