No, this isn’t a post about Christmas--if it were, I’d be four months late. Bear with me until I make my point. Every Christmas my mom pulls out her “Christmas books.” I’m not kidding, it’s usually at least one full bookshelf worth of books – picture books for the grandkids to read; Richard Paul Evan’s latest Christmas book (he has one at least every year, doesn’t he?), and books sharing ideas on how to remember Christ during Christmas. The majority of the books on the shelf however, are that last topic: idea books on how to celebrate and remember Christ, despite all the commercialism. Most Americans start celebrating Christmas the day after Thanksgiving; the decorations are usually up in the malls two weeks before that.
Now, to my point.
Eric Huntsman, author of God So Loved the World: The Final Days of the Savior’s Life, shared a powerful quotation from President Hinckley regarding Christmas:
"There would be no Christmas if there had not been Easter…the babe Jesus of Bethlehem would be but another baby without the redeeming Christ of Gethsemane and Calvary, and the triumphant fact of the Resurrection."
Wow. Interesting to think about that, isn’t it? Without Christ’s purpose and mission, which was to overcome spiritual and physical death, why would we celebrate Christmas? Obviously, we’re celebrating Easter this coming Sunday, but I wonder how many people celebrate it the whole month of April? Or at least, the week of Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday? I celebrate His birth, but I think I forget to celebrate the greatest blessings of all: His death and resurrection. I let those two things get buried behind all the chocolate bunnies, unfortunately.
After reading Dr. Huntsman’s book, I’m celebrating Easter a little differently this year. In his book, Dr. Huntsman breaks down each day of Easter week by chapters, and explains what happened on those days. He includes scriptures, historical context, pictures, even suggested hymns, for the family to read (and sing) to celebrate Easter the whole week, and not just on Easter Sunday. It is quite an incredible book--one that will go on my shelf for both my Christmas and Easter celebrations.
Here is a quick event breakdown for you that I got from Dr. Huntsman’s book:
Sunday (aka Palm Sunday)
This is one week before Easter Sunday. Meaningful events that happened on this day include: Christ’s Triumphal Entry and Christ’s cleansing of the temple.
Cursing of the fig tree; Christ’s pattern of teaching in the temple and his teachings which include parables such as the parable of the two sons and the parable of the wedding banquet.
Lesson from the withered fig tree; more teachings in the temple: attempts to trap Jesus in his words; The Olivet Discourse.
The plot to kiss Jesus; the anointing described by Mark and Matthew; Judas agrees to betray Jesus.
The Last Supper; Christ goes to Gethsemane; betrayal and arrest of Jesus; Jesus goes before Jewish authorities.
Friday (aka Good Friday)
Jesus falls in the hands of the Romans; crucifixion and final hours; signs and reactions to Christ’s death; burial of Jesus Christ.
Guard is placed at the tomb; darkness prevails among the Nephites; Jesus goes to the spirit world and organizes His work there.
The women and the empty tomb; Christ appears to Mary Magdalene; Road to Emmaus; Jesus appears to the disciples; Jesus meets the disciples in Galilee; the Ascension.
Ashley Jones practices public relations for Deseret Book. She loves writing, emailing her missionary sister, and making/ eating home-made popcorn.
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