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Easter Musings 2010

zacks-dinosaur-egg.JPGI've been browsing through photos of our Facebook friends, and have really enjoyed the beautiful Easter photos back home. The large Easter baskets, the peanut-butter cream filled chocolates, the countless choices of plastic eggs (can't get them here), the cool egg-dye kits, the fancy Easter dresses and shoes, and of course, the huge gathering at church to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, complete with the awesome band on stage, leading in worship music!

Do I miss all that? Sure, sometimes! But to me, there was something very special about the "smallness" of our celebration this year. It seemed to be more focused on what and Who we were actually celebrating. I loved listening to Jeff read the Bible passages each night to Zack and Ellie, starting around the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. We talked about how Jesus KNEW what was going to happen to him in that city, and yet He chose to ride IN. (I always tell them that if it were up to me, I'd be turning that donkey around and kicking it into high gear OUT!) Jeff also led us in a very special family communion service on Maundy Thursday, as we truly thought about what it means to remember the body of Jesus that was hurt for us, and the blood that was shed on our behalf. The footwashings were filled with bursts of giggles (I'm very ticklish!!), but at the same time, as Jeff washed our stinky feet, we were able to reflect on what Jesus was teaching us.

Ellie made "resurrection eggs" at school, so she was really into opening and closing each egg, retelling the story of His agony and death. She finds great delight in opening the very last egg, which is EMPTY, representing the empty tomb! How cool it is to see our children growing up, knowing the absolute Truth.

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Above: the stone was rolled away. Below: the tomb was empty!

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As we got ready for our Easter lunch with two families from our community of Japanese friends, Zack and Ellie drew pictures to decorate the wall. I really don't have anything against bunnies, but it was heartwarming to see that all of their drawings were of the cross and the empty tomb. That was the foremost thing on their minds that morning. Priceless.

Rather than having a huge party of 40 in the rental room and barely having time to talk to people individually, it made more sense to focus on our close friends here at home this year. I know I've said this many times before, but these families have become so dear to us. It is a joy to have them in our home, and to show them Who Jesus is. We watched a part of "Jesus for Children," a tremendous video that has been translated into Japanese. We weren't certain if some of the scenes would be too difficult for all to watch, but in the end, we realized that it is very important to see the ugliness of sin, and the consequences of our selfish hearts. The cross was brutal. The pain, unimaginable. THAT's why Easter is such a celebration, because Jesus went through all that for US, and He defeated sin and death!!!

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Our lunch was NOT ham and potatoes:) We did it potluck style, so we got to eat some really delicious Japanese food that our friends made! Yummy!

Egg hunts here in Japan are pretty comical. I've heard that a church had to do theirs in a parking lot due to not having space for something like that. Can you imagine tying to hide eggs in an empty parking lot? Ours was just as fun. We have a small patio, and our friend's car was there, which provided more hiding space:) There were eggs under the car, in bicycle baskets, under leaves and rocks, or simply on the pavement! Even though it only takes about 30 seconds for them to find everything, the kids still had fun!! And here, I always have to say, "Okay, after you open up the eggs, please return the plastic eggs to me so that we can use them again next year!"

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The rest of the afternoon was spent kickin' back, relaxing, talking, kids playing house (in Japanese) upstairs, making gummy candies, and just enjoying each other's company. Our Easter was special because we had friends to love in our home.

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Click here to see our Easter photo album...

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