A few weeks ago I was walking around my local supermarket and to my absolute shock, I saw Easter eggs… in January :O
As our world gets busier and busier, sadly, the ‘liturgical calendar’ can almost be thrown out of the window. People still understand Christmas but Easter seems to be another story. Yes, shops are filled with chocolate eggs and bunnies, children are excited to paint eggs and go on the annual hunt, but does it stop there?
Life gets so busy and Easter is here before we know it, we don’t have time to stop and think about what Easter means. I think that it is a terrible thing! Easter, whether you’re a Christian or not, has huge implications for you. Easter gives us the time to slow down and to contemplate who God is and what He has done in and for the world.
Growing up my family never really celebrated or did anything special during Lent, nor was there anything special about the run up to Easter until you hit Good Friday. I have found that this is the experience of many Christians in the UK today, and there are many reasons for that, but that’s for another blog post. The question is, are we missing out?
I think that we are!
Lent gives us a tremendous opportunity to take a breathe, to slow down and think, to stop and to ponder, to reflect and to revisit the Scriptures that we know so well. I’ve found devotional books, written specifically for a time of year (Easter, Christmas, etc.), really helpful and so I thought I’d share a few.
I’ll start with one for youngest group of all, then one for the family as a whole and then one for the grown ups.
Are we nearly there yet? by Alison Brewis
If you’ve ever taken a journey with children, both big and small, the question that you will have heard is “Are we nearly there yet?” Every parent has heard it and that is exactly where this book starts.
Alison has written a very short which tells the story of Jesus and starts with the disciples asking a similar question “Are we nearly there yet? When will you be King?”
This books explains the false expectations of the disciples, that Jesus was going to be setting up His Kingdom on earth and it tells the wonderful story that Jesus is King of everyone. To top it all off Alison has given some great helps at the back of this short book to help you go deeper with your children; there are questions to help start a conversation, Bible passages that she has referenced in the book and ideas to help you get from playing to thinking about Jesus with your child. If you have small children and want a wee bedtime story then get this book from 10ofThose.
The Wonder of Easter by Ed Drew
Getting the whole family together can be quite difficult and that’s before you even mention anything to do with Bible study. Ed Drew has produced a tremendous book that has 34 devotionals for the whole family, from the ages of 3 to 18. Now you might be thinking ‘that is a huge age range, how’s that even possible?’ well Ed has structured each devotional to have age specific questions and illustrations.
Each study focuses on a passage from Luke’s Gospel or an Old Testament prophecy and it gives you the main discussion points, illustrations with everyday household items and questions for everyone at the table. But there’s more, Ed has also given some ‘top tips’ at the back of the book to help the whole family engage, to encourage conversation and practical advice on how to lead the family through this book. It can be difficult to find materials that are both good, engaging and challenging for people of all ages but Ed Drew has nailed it with this book! Go buy a copy from The Good Book Company.
The Beauty of the Cross by Tim Chester
As an avid reader I find that there are some authors that you just keep coming back to, time and time again, because their style, their insights and their books are just great! Tim Chester is one of those authors, and he’s written another book (that’s over 40!). The Beauty of the Cross isn’t just a nice little thought for the day or a dry theological reflection, but it is a reflection from Scripture that is intended to make us in awe of God.
The reaction that Tim wants when you read the verses that he expounds from Isaiah 52-53 is this;
“I want our jaws to drop as we stand open-mouthed before the cross, lost for words as we see the love of Christ in all its fullness.”
How can you argue with that?
Tim has written this tremendous book that helps you see the beauty of the greatest Servant that ever lived, Jesus, and the significance of the Easter message. Each day you’ll find a reading, a short reflection filled with application for the reader, and the short prayer or meditation of people from the past. Tim even put the lyrics to his new song based on Isaiah 53 at the back of the book!
Why not take time to slow down this Easter and really think about the wonderful message of Jesus? If you want to grow, see the beauty of the cross and the majestic grace of God this book will help you take time to think as Easter approaches. But a copy of this great book from The Good Book Company. I’ll leave you with Tim’s words on the matter;
“We often speak or sing about the cross. Of course we do; it’s central to our faith. This section of Isaiah [Chapters 52-53] is an invitation to pause; to take it slow; to go down deep…”