What Does Easter Mean to You?

This post was written by a Lutheran lady from my home church (St. Paul’s Free Lutheran Church of Leitersburg) and it first appeared in our church newsletter last month. Thank you for sharing, Barbara!

What does Easter mean to you? Can you remember as a child the anticipation you felt for Easter morning… the big Easter basket filled with colored eggs and enough candy to last for a month? And let us not forget our new outfits to be shown off at church. After eating the Easter meal (ham with all the trimmings), we would grab our baskets (many of us looking forward to receiving another one from our grandparents) and eat enough candy to rot our teeth and cause our stomachs to ache. Sadly, for many “Christians” the meaning of Easter has never progressed into a truer and deeper understanding of its significance in our lives.

Even as parents, and most of us are guilty, we continue to marginalize Easter morning as we watch our children joyfully observe this pagan exercise we label as Easter. It’s all about coloring eggs and decorating with bunnies, pagan symbols of fertility and new birth. And even though Christians borrowed the analogy of the egg as a symbol of new life, how much connection is carried over in our minds as to the rebirth of Jesus as He conquered death and rose from the tomb. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all colored eggs were stamped with the following statement?

“We have new life because Jesus arose!”

How mature have we become in our celebration of the Easter message? Do we get excited on Easter morning because we have been given the greatest gift ever given to mankind? Do we look forward to going to church and thanking God for the salvation we receive through His Son Jesus Christ because He was willing to die for us? Can we hardly wait to sing, with everything within us, words from Easter hymns such as:

“Up from the grave He arose with a mighty triumph o’er His foes”


“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, because He lives all fear is gone, because I know He holds the future and life is worth the living just because HE LIVES!”

Fellow Christians, let us fill the church this Easter with hearts overflowing with gratitude, ever mindful of the salvation God offers through our faith in Jesus as we remember the horrible price He paid for our sins. How blessed we are to understand this, the true meaning of Easter, the most holy of all holidays.

For more posts about Easter see:

Easter Sunday devotional 3.27.16

The Easter Laugh

Easter Victory

Twas the Morning of Easter by Glenys Nellist–Book Review

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. Easter is still six weeks away, but it’s not too soon to begin teaching the young children in our lives about the resurrection and what it means. This delightful book would make a great Easter tradition for families.

The illustrations by Elena Selivanova are lovely. The words follow the rhyming cadence of Clement More’s well known poem, ‘Twas the Night before Christmas.’ Children will love to hear or read this over and over and may even memorize the words. It correctly chronicles the events of Easter morning, from the sleeping guards, rolling away of the stone, the encounter of Jesus with Mary Magdalene and her race to inform the disciples. All of creation rejoices on this important day.

VERDICT 5 STARS. I loved it!

For more books for children see:

The Princess and the Three Knights by Karen Kingsbury–Book Review

Manger by Lee Bennett Hopkins — Book Review

God is Hope by Amy Parker–Book Review

Great and Small Easter by B&H Kids Editorial Staff — Book Review

This delightful little board book would make a welcome addition to any toddler’s Easter basket.  Just the right size for small hands, it is sturdy enough to withstand lots on hands-on attention– a necessity as children will enjoy opening the flaps over and over.  Attractive drawings in lovely pastels illustrate animal pairs puddle-jumping, playing hide and seek, and singing and dancing to celebrate the season the the God who gives life to everything!

It closes with a Bible verse:

“Look, I am making everything new!”  Revelation 21:5

Little ones and their parents will love it.


If you would like to purchase this book, follow the link below:

Great and Small Easter – B&H Publishing (bhpublishinggroup.com)

The Lutheran Ladies received a free e-copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.  Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CPR 255.

For more books for children see:

What’s So Wonderful About Webster? by Stephen and Alex Kendrick–Book Review

GraceFull by Dorena Williamson — Book Review

The Great Farmapalooza by Jill Roman Lord — Book Review


Easter Victory

Frederick Temple was an English academic, churchman and Archbishop of Canterbury from 1896 until his death in 1902.  This quote showed up in my devotional reading and it seemed very appropriate to our theme, and the church season.

“The return of Easter should be to the Christian life the call of a trumpet.  It is the news of a great victory.  It is the solution of a great perplexity.  It is the assurance of a great triumph.”

Frederick Temple

For more quotes by Frederick Temple, visit these posts:

Questions for Lent

Do You Serve Cheerfully?

Photo by Adrien Olichon on Pexels.com

The Quiet Crazy Easter Day by Jill Roman Lord–Book Review

This cute, sturdy board book would make a perfect addition to any toddler’s Easter basket (my copy will certainly go into granddaughter, Hailey’s).  Illustrated by Kelly Breemer, it includes colorful depictions of a host of familiar animals — rabbits, birds, wolves, fish, deer and yes, there are sheep– along with their appropriate sounds.  Humans are included, as well, as they rejoice by yelling and  shouting hurrah at the exciting news that Jesus has risen.  Words that denote sound or movement are highlighted in a variety of bright colors.

It includes a simple explanation of the resurrection which is suitable for young children– Jesus rose from the tomb to take our sins away;  He is still alive today and He hears us and loves us.

VERDICT:  I give this book 5 stars.  It would be great fun to read out loud with children, grandchildren, or a Sunday School class.                                                                                                                                    If you would like to purchase it, follow this link:


The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

For review of another book by Jill Roman Lord, check out this post:

The Silent Noisy Night by Jill Roman Lord — Book Review

Tell One Another the Good News

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. Matthew 28:5-7

Even though there is not a verse that specifically says, “tell one another” I believe it’s something we need to do;  not just on Easter morning, but every day. Martin Luther said:

“We need to hear the gospel every day because we forget it every day.”

Maybe this falls under the admonishment to “instruct one another.” We Christians need to constantly hear the Gospel — Jesus Christ, died and risen for us. So greet one another this morning with the Easter greeting:  “He is risen.  He is risen indeed.”

Allelluia He is Coming

Martha Butler does not consider herself a composer, yet she wrote the popular worship song, Alleluia, He is Coming.  Here’s how it happened.

When asked about what inspired the hymn,  Martha said, “I had been reading the Bible as part of a devotional lesson. The passage was “Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him” (Luke 8:40). She was mystified as to why the church had selected such a mundane statement to be an inspirational message and asked God to speak to her. Later that day, she said, “as the verse kept running through my mind, I wrote some phrases in a process I refer to as an exercise in imagination.”

Martha recalled, “I felt this feeling of anticipation that the crowd must have felt while waiting for Jesus to arrive and preach. As I prepared to attend a Saturday evening worship service, this feeling of expectation grew.” She remembers that at the service she could hear the words and melody and a voice telling her to stand up and sing. “Shyness and the remembered words of my mother that I ‘could not carry a tune in a bucket’ prevented me from following the directions of the voice,” Martha laughingly declared. “I realized later that I have perfect pitch and it was really my mother who could not carry a tune!”

Martha told her husband and two dearest friends of this event and her hesitation to sing. Encouraged by their support, Martha, along with her friends, sang this beautiful new melody at the next Saturday evening worship and “we were amazed that by the second chorus, the entire congregation was singing.”

I love this song which we sing on Via de Cristo weekends, and I thought it would be appropriate to share right before Easter.

One Man’s Change

My husband and I recently took the teens from our church to see the movie, “The Case for Christ.”  It is the story of Lee Strobel, a journalist and atheist.  When his wife becomes a Christian, he is distressed and decides to use his investigative skills to disprove Christianity by attacking the resurrection.  Even St. Paul agrees it is the linchpin of our faith.

“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”  1 Corinthians 15:14

After consulting with many experts in individual fields, here’s what he found:

  • The Bible is a reliable source because there are many more existing copies, and earlier copies of it than any other ancient document
  • Over 500 people could not have had the same delusion of seeing Jesus alive after the crucifixion–this would be more miraculous than the miracle itself!
  • Medical experts agree that Jesus could not have been alive when He was taken down from the cross
  • Eye witness accounts all contained the same core of the resurrection story.  There were variances in secondary details –this is exactly what would be expected.  Identical reports are suspect.
  • Jews of that time would never have chosen women as the first witnesses;  women were not allowed to be witnesses.  This could only mean they were reporting the truth.  If they were lying, they would have chosen men as the witnesses.
  • The disciples led changed lives, and were willing to die for their faith.  Who would chose to die for a lie?  What would be the motive?

I would recommend this film, especially to young or newer Christians.  It falls in the category of “apologetics.” (defending the faith).  Lee Strobel went on to become a Pastor, writer and professor.  He is the author of a number of books including “The Case For Christ” which tells his conversion story and on which the movie is based.

I’d be interested in hearing other comments on the film or book.

Change, Loss and Faith

This is an article I actually wrote many years ago when my church at the time, Peace In Christ Lutheran in Walkersville, had undergone the major change of buying a new church building and moving to a different location.  I think the ideas are still relevant today.

Our daughter Kate, age 20, who is living and going to college in South Carolina, called recently.  The old car we gave her finally died.  So she went out, bought a new car, and got her own insurance.  When I told a friend about this, she said, “Joan, that’s a good thing!”  And it is.  Parenthood is all about guiding your child to independence.  I’m proud of Kate and relieved she is now able to take care of so many things on her own.  But, at the same time, I feel a pang of loss.  She doesn’t need me as much as she once did.

For some of us at Peace In Christ, the church was for many years “our baby.”  Church social events took place in the homes of our members as we didn’t have a kitchen or fellowship hall.  My husband even taught adult Sunday School in our living room one year!  Just about every active family had a member serving on either the Church Council, Board of Elders, or Sunday School staff.  The success of an event depended upon all of us pitching in and being there.  We were truly members of the same body and the body needed every one of us to function.

At the new facility things have changed.  We’ve grown in numbers and no longer know everyone;  there is a greater variety of interest and level of commitment;  communication doesn’t just “happen” anymore.  This brings a feeling of loss and in a way, even death–death of the close community and roles that were valuable to us.  Elizabeth O’Connor, in her book, “Many Selves” says, “those who participate in change must participate in death.”

However, during this Easter season I am reminded that death is not the end.  We’re called to practice resurrection–which isn’t easy during the painful uncertainty of transition.  Here’s a quote from “Hope for the Flowers.”  Two caterpillars are discussing becoming a butterfly:

” ‘You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar’, Stripe said. ‘You mean to die?‘  asked Yellow.  ‘Yes and no,’ he answered.  ‘What looks like you will die, but what’s really you will still live.'”

When I put on the mind of Christ, I know that what’s really Peace In Christ will continue to live through all of the changes.


Easter Sunday devotional 3.27.16

This devotion goes along well with our theme of resurrection, and particularly the hymn, In the Garden.