Holding onto the Holiday Spirit
“We shouldn’t just be excited about Jesus when we celebrate His birth/resurrection! We should celebrate Jesus all year long!”
How many times have we heard or said something like this? My guess…a lot.
It’s one of those statements that is completely unoriginal and yet completely true, important, and one that we don’t do very well.
As I write this it’s the Wednesday before Good Friday. So, Holy week is on the brain. We had a great worship time this past Palm Sunday and this weekend we mourn the crucifixion and rejoice in the resurrection. The idea of holding on to the spirit of these Jesus-centered holidays shouldn’t be such a crazy thing for a believer, but here we are. What I’m getting at is this: Jesus grants us undeserved and new mercy every morning. We already didn’t deserve the Cross before our first breath and we still can’t earn it, but God sent His Son for us all the same.
After Christmas and Easter pass, and life goes on, we experience the same pain, grief, loss, and sorrow that we did before. How do we hold onto the Joy we feel during the high points?
This is what Peter writes to various Churches suffering through persecution in 1 Peter 1:3-9:
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
Our children’s choir, adult choir, and instrumentalists led us in worship with the song “Living Hope” as part of our “Journey to the Cross” Palm Sunday worship time. The composers were inspired by that scripture to pen those words and melodies. As we read and sang the words together, the message of Hope in Jesus, even as He lay in the grave, gave us the powerful message of the Gospel. These truths don’t lose any potency in January or May. The joy of our Salvation must be nurtured in prayer and practiced all year long. The Psalmist prayed “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit” in Psalm 51:12.
This may be the next step in maturity for many of us. Perhaps this is the step that will help us share our faith at work, in our home, at our kids ball games, and maybe to a stranger. Make no mistake, we have a hope that’s only found in Him and Easter is powerful because we highlight and celebrate exactly how Jesus gave us this hope! It’s a great thing to make much of the cross and resurrection but let’s make a concerted effort to springboard off of Easter and take this hope to the world around us better than we have for the rest of the year! We’re praying and looking forward to 2020 and asking God to use us and give us guidance. We already know He’s calling us to make disciples now.
God, help us hold on to the hope and joy we find in the Easter story and allow it to remain in us through Christmas, and use us in our excitement to make much of You.
In Christ Alone,