Monday, November 06, 2006

Chapter 10 No Ordinary Home

Dawn sent us all some coffee to enjoy this morning while we chat about chapter 10. Isn't she the sweetest:)? I really needed some caffeine to get me moving this morning!
Speaking of my adopted big sis Dawn:), she wrote a great summary for us of this chapter. While you're checking that out, check out what she wrote about weight-training. Very motivational (and just what I needed this morning), but then hop on back over here because this chapter is chock-full of stuff to talk about.
First let me tell y'all that last Easter for me was so so similar to the Easter that Carol describes at the beginning of the chapter. We had a new baby and I was just starting to settle in to a new routine. Many family members and church family members were having health problems or one type of crisis or another. It just seemed like no one was in a worship sort of mood. And that went for me too. The night before Easter I was at Walmart (I despise going to walmart the night before anything - although it is a family tradition!) buying Easter clothes because it's always been our tradition to wear new clothes on Easter. But do you think I was enjoying myself? Do you think I was focused on the reason for those new clothes? Celebrating that we are born anew in Him? Not hardly. We made it through the next day - church service, sing all the Easter hymns, hurry home to finish making dessert and rush over to my sil's for dinner and an Easter egg hunt for the kids. When Carol writes "Today was another mad dash to get hats and gloves, diaper bags and Easter baskets. Once there, the music was stirring, the sermon impressive. But my spirit was flat. I feel flat...fat and flat," well that was me! I prayed and prayed over the next few weeks that God would never let me experience another Easter with so little attention to Him, so little praise, so little appreciation. I asked Him to show me how to worship Him and how to teach my children to worship Him. Reading this book has been one of His many answers to that prayer.
An idea that Carol heard from her friend Wendy (so glad that I'm not the only one with brilliant friends who don't mind sharing their great ideas!) was making an Easter tree. When I lived in Germany as a little girl, they had Easter trees - beautiful spring blooming branches tied with intricately painted hallow eggs and little wooden figures of bunnies and birds. Very beautiful, but not exactly what this Easter tree is all about. This Easter tree is a wonderful way to focus on God's covenant with His people throughout the season of Lent. Let me let her explain it.
"She would trace His promise, beginning with creation and ending at the empty tomb. She would trace His faithfulness and His children's unfaithfulness. Each night John and she would teach the children the biblical story, and then they would put an ornament on the tree to represent the story. She would begin the tree on Ash Wednesday and finish it the Monday after Easter."
This idea just really grabbed me. I was so excited when I read it - something we could do! I could just picture all of us gathered around, Casey reading the Biblical account, the kids solemnly taking turns hanging the ornament on the tree...Then I came back to reality and remembered that my kids are little! And we're all lazy! And no one around here ever takes turns! So perhaps my vision needed some tweaking. So I went to the Father and asked Him what to do about Easter (and about Christmas while I was at it:) ) and He's still telling me. If I took anything away from this chapter I hope it's forever chiseled in my brain to go to Him first and not just start making my own plans about how to worship Him or serve Him or even live for Him. So often I assume I know what He wants for me without even asking...
So let's talk some about how we can spend the time leading up to Easter focusing on Him and preparing our hearts for Him. Maybe for some of us, making an Easter tree is going to be a definite possibility - if so, how do you think you'll go about it? Or if not, what other things will you do? What kinds of Easter traditions do you already have that may need to be refocused? And, most importantly, what is our Father leading you to do to worship Him?

10 comments:

Dawn C said...

Lived in Germany as a child?!!!! (I only hopped in to get an initial read, but got stuck on this.) :)

Gotta do some baby work. :) BE BACK

Shannon said...

Yep, I'm an Army brat:) We spent three years in Germany and then we were stationed for two in Hawaii. Talk about culture shock - going from Germany to Hawaii was wild:) We also lived in Georgia (of course), Colorado (I was born there, but we moved when I was 2ish), Washington, Oklahoma, and Ohio. And my parents moved to Texas after I left home (they did however give me the new address!).

Krystal said...

We have used the Resurection Eggs from Family Life today with great success in celebrating Christ's resurection and we have been able to observe Passover which brought so much more meaning to our thoughts on Christ as the Lamb of God.

This past year Easter came to mean so much more for us. On the Monday before Easter I started bleeding and by Wednesday evening I had a full miscarriage (I was 9 weeks pregnant). I have never in my life felt as close to God as I did in those days of sorrow and pain. My dh adopted the song How Deep the Father's Love For Us as our song during this time. The love God had for us and the suffering of his Son and himself during those days was so much more than I can imagine but the timing of our suffering gave us a better understanding. Easter Sunday I came to church needing to feel God's love and our church family wrapped us in that love and the glory of Christ's resurrection brought me so much hope for the future.

How good the Father is to love us and bring us to a greater understanding of who he is.

Shannon said...

Krystal - i'm so sorry about your miscarriage. I can only imagine that kind of hurt, but I do know that only Christ can heal that pain. I'm so glad that you were able to find comfort in HIm. My pastor has used the resurrection eggs with the kids before and I know they really enjoyed them. How do y'all celebrate Passover? What does that look like with little ones? :)

Krystal said...

We've actually only succeeded in celebrating Passover once but we had made plans to celebrate it again this year before we had the miscarriage. I bought this great book called Celebrating Biblical Feasts in your home or church by Martha Zimmerman. It has a great plan for doing Passover keeping the children in mind. It is a shorter Haggadah than the normal one plus it is written from a Christian perspective. We didn't make the littlist ones stay through the whole thing because they did get a bit restless but our 4 & 6 year old at the time did great. (Next Easter our kids will be 2,4,6 & 8 and I think they will be able to do pretty good getting through the whole thing.) There are a lot of interactive parts with the different foods and responses to say.

Here's a link to download the Sedar excerpt from the book: Christian Haggadah


or just go to www.bethanyhouse.com and search for the title of the book & you'll find a link from there.
HTH

Dawn C said...

Hey my dears, we've been doing Passover in our home for YEARS - like...14, maybe? During those years, we have rewritten the Haggadah (the service of the Passover celebration) several times. I would be happy to share with you what we have written. I don't remember if we re-wrote it since Bica was little or not. I'll have to look. (I try to note when we re-do it, so I can recall who was what age.)

We no longer celebrate Passover according to its proper date, but in conjunction with Easter. It used to make me crazy to not have it on the "right" night, but then the Lord convicted me that it was more important to help my children understand the intimacy of the Passover followed by the Crucifixion. By doing so, our children have grasped the horror of it much more clearly.

When we do Passover, Jeff buys the children a gift. It's usually not much, but it is something that HE has chosen. (That doesn't happen any other time of the year.) :) We do this for the moment that the father must "buy back" the afikomen. We want the kids to see that the price the Father paid to buy us back is HUGE!!! (And to my kids, having Dad do the shopping for gifts is HUGE) ;)

I love the idea of doing something each day of...I don't know - the whole 40 days? or just Holy Week. I need to spend some more time in prayer re: this. (I must confess, my heart has been totally caught up in how to honor Thanksgiving and Christmas) However, we already have a head start, as we keep our Christmas tree...strip it of whatever needles might be left, and it becomes the Cross we hang for Easter.

Shannon, thank you for being our hostess this week. I loved hearing your heart for Easter.

Last year, we were attending a local Body. I BEGGED Jeff to not make us attend there for Easter. I simply could NOT bear to endure their total lack of joy over the Cross on a regular Sunday, the thought of doing so on Easter was more than I could bear. I confess, there is a part of me that aches for Father to put us into a church Body before Easter. It's simply so hard to celebrate this "alone."

Shannon said...

Krystal, that was a great link! Thanks. Dawn, I'd love (LOVE!) to see what y'all have written! I promise I'm not trying to copy, but (as Molly likes to say) I don't want to reinvent the wheel! :) I just always love to have jumping off points, kwim? Inspiration:)
I think we will do something along the lines of the Easter tree this year although probably not all 40 ornaments. I think we'll build up to that. Maybe once a week until Holy Week and then every day.
One other thing I think we'll do this year is to give Easter baskets on Egg Hunt Day (at our church that's the Saturday before the one right before Easter). There may still be some sort of gift on Easter morning, I don't know, but I'd like the "spring" stuff not to detract from Resurrection Day.

Shannon said...

Dawn - You know I'm having some church issues lately, too. The lack of joy is probably the biggest thing for me and I can totally understand where you're coming from. I hope God does lead y'all to a wondeful church family before too long, it can be such a blessing:)

Dawn C said...

Shannon, one of the things that we also do is have a Resurrection hunt. Specifically we like best to have it for other people.
We hide a large rock, a leather bag with 30 dimes, a pitcher, a bowl, a towel, red cloth, a crown of thorns, large nails, a stuffed lamb, a small leather whip....um....seems like there is more, but my brain is not working too well. Anyway, we send the guests out to find the details and then we use the pieces found to retell the Gospel story. We love doing it. I wonder if you couldn't put together something along THAT line for your baskets. (like the a bag with a few dimes in it, a lamb - even if it's chocolate...pray, see if the Lord won't give you a few ideas of things to put into the basket that would allow you to retell the story, using the contents of the basket. (OR better yet, maybe you could give the baskets the Sunday before Easter and let them enjoy the details of Holy Wk all week long - still giving a lamb..and whatever else Father would lay on your heart. I'll pray that you hear wonderfully, loving creative ideas!)

Shannon said...

Dawn - That is a really great idea. I may be filling in for the kids' Sunday School class around then and they would love that - or I may even invite a few people over here to do it! You're full of good ideas, girl!