I love Easter for so many reasons, it demonstrates the intense love God has for us and it represents forgiveness and hope like nothing else I have every experienced.
I love the 'Journey to the cross', it is deeply powerful. Starting with Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday followed by six weeks of readings that focus on the vital ministry of Jesus while he walked this earth. Then Palm Sunday, the Last Supper all as we move closer and closer to the profound moment of the resurrection. Each individual celebration having its own meaning but together they culminate to a crescendo-building occurrence, when it is announced "He has risen".
Secondly, I love that women feature significantly in the Bible at Easter. In our culture the women’s stories in the Bible have taken second place to the interests and needs of male biblical writers and male leaders in Christian churches, but at Easter women feature prominently and that makes me really happy.
The Gospels agree that at the most difficult moment in the Christian story, when Jesus hung on the cross exposed and suffering, it was his women followers who remained with him when everybody else had left. Then they helped Joseph of Arimathea take down his body and lay it in the tomb before dusk fell. The Gospels agree that, at the cross, there was a collection of women who had followed Jesus, some who had followed him all the way from Galilee.
It was women who came to the tomb first, the angel spoke to Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome, and said "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen".
Then in Mark 16:9 "When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared to Mary Magdalene". God does nothing by accident, so the fact that women played such a vital part in this world and life changing moment in history is very pertinent and profound.
I also love how the date of Easter each year is based on the first full moon after Equinox. Perfect balance between heaven and earth, a beautiful unison between spirituality, nature and mankind and a sign of respect for the astrology elements. It is wonderful, everybody can look up at the sky each night for the week leading up to Easter, seeing the moon get bigger, creating anticipation for Easter Sunday. It is all inclusive and just magnificent.
I love listening to the beautiful and powerful songs of Worship about the Cross, Calvary and forgiveness, I adore having an excuse to eat chocolate and it makes me smile big as I watch our children excitedly hunt for Easter Eggs.
My prayer is that each one of us, no matter where we are, how we celebrate, or who we are with, that we will all experience the transforming love of Jesus Christ this Easter.