We are in the second week of Lent, the forty day period of time leading up to Holy Week for Christians. It is a time of repentance, reflection and preparation for the holiest of Christian holidays — Easter Sunday. It represents the forty days Jesus fasted and faced temptation in the wilderness.
Have you noticed how late Easter falls this year? I looked up some information about the dates and discovered that Easter can be as early as March 22 and as late as April 25. It all depends on the Vernal Equinox and the phases of the moon. Easter 2019 is almost as late as it can possibly be. Some trivia — the last time Easter fell on April 25, the latest possible date, was 1943.
I am so looking forward to Holy Week and Easter this year. I don’t think I have been this excited since I was buying new outfits and filling Easter baskets for my kids or attending Easter service as a family. The four of us haven’t been together for Easter since 2010.
What has me so excited for Holy Week and Easter? The memories of my trip to Israel last December.
You have probably heard me say it before, but my visit to the Holy Land now makes everything I read in the Bible come alive. This year, as I reflect on the events leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord, I will have an image of the place where the events occurred.
We stood on the Mount of Olives and then walked down the road Jesus traveled on his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We sat on the steps of the temple where he taught during his final week on earth. We visited the neighborhood where the home of the last supper probably was and saw a representation of what the upper room may have looked like. Our visit included time in the Garden of Gethsemane, the likely home of Caiaphas where Jesus was put on a mock trial and the fortress where he was beaten and abused by the Roman guards. We walked the Via Dolorosa, stopping at the stations of the cross until we arrived at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the traditional site of the crucifixion. We visited the Garden Tomb, peering inside to see that it was empty. One of my favorite sites was on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, where the disciples ate breakfast with their resurrected savior.
These are the things I will be thinking of these next few weeks until Easter. I will share some of my insights and feelings in the weeks ahead. I hope it will be a blessing to you as you prepare your heart for Resurrection Sunday.