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It’s about more than the dress

Growing up, Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays to spend with my family. It’s one of the few times of the year, we manage to take a break from our own lives long enough and spend some real time together.

Of course, in my family we always waited until the last minute to get things done, so the day before Easter is one of my least favorite days, as it has traditionally been spent fighting the crowds of other unprepared mothers and daughters at the mall in search of the perfect new Easter dress. (Which by the way is an incredibly unpleasant experience as everyone always seems to look tired and somewhat desperate.)

But come Easter morning however all of that is forgotten, with the perfect, new outfit hung up beside my bed, knowing my mom would spend extra time curling my hair for the annual backyard family Easter picture.

And now that I am grown up, I still enjoy that morning and the days leading up to Easter, but in a different way. Being a youth pastor’s daughter I always spent a lot of time at our church and understood the meaning of Easter, but as a kid it wasn’t always the thing I focused on the most — especially when the mall was closing and I hadn’t yet found new shoes to go with my Easter dress.

This week in Selma I have been so encouraged and reminded of the reason why we celebrate Easter. Until a few days ago I had never heard of a Tenebrae service, which is a service of darkness that serves as a time of reflection. I’ve always gone to Good Friday services, but never a Thursday night Tenebrae service. Two churches in Selma, First Presbyterian and Church Street United Methodist joined together to host the special service.

The service dealt with the last week of Christ’s life through scripture and song. It displayed what Christ was going through as he was going through his trials and tribulations up to the time of his death.

This time is a time to reflect and remember how Jesus took on all the sin of the world, all of my sin — and he died for it. He died a terrible, agonizingly painful death so that I could one day find salvation and freedom from death in him.

Friday I was reminded with a beautiful image of the true meaning of Easter. As I covered a reenactment of the last days of Christ’s life portrayed by various church members, I watched first hand how Jesus was beaten; I heard the nasty things that were said to him and saw the suffering that he went through.

As horrible as it was to watch, it was incredibly moving. It was a beautiful reminder that while my family may have fun, Easter traditions, the day is about so much more than finding a new Easter dress.