Written by: Laura Hurlbert-Nickerson
“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, ‘for he will save his people from their sins.’” Matthew 1:21
Palm Sunday has meant many different things over the years. From teaching a Sunday School class and having the children wave palm branches, to churches combining for a special choir presentation, to singing every “Hosanna” song we can find; each of these have a special memory for me. I believe the most memorable years are the ones when we did an event at our church called “Walk Through Jerusalem”. Not only because the week before Palm Sunday weekend consisted of a lot of decorating and line memorizing, but simply because it brought the whole story together.
I remember the first time we revealed the concept to the participants in the event. “Really, a Christmas song? Why would we have a Christmas scene at Easter?” echoed throughout the building. Sometimes I think we forget that Palm Sunday isn’t where the story of God becoming man starts but where it continues. You can’t have Easter without Christmas. Yes, I just said Christmas. (Which we may not have had white Christmas but we certainly could have a white Easter this year).
Walk through Jerusalem brought it all together for me. Starting at his birth, to when he was a boy in the temple going through his ministry, the last supper, in the garden praying, arrest in the garden, the trial, the cross, and the resurrection. Of course we couldn’t have every aspect of His story or else we would have been there for days but we hit most of the basics. Add in there a few more ministry scenes, (sermons and miracles) selection of the 12 Disciples, “Palm Sunday” and of course the time after his resurrection and then his ascension and we would have a clearer picture of what Easter really is about.
I work in retail, so trust me when I say that although right now Easter isn’t commercially as big as Christmas it certainly is catching up. We first noticed a shift last year when people seemed to be buying larger items and more of them. They were not satisfied with a chocolate bunny and skipping rope (both of which I looked forward to each year). No, they wanted scooters and electronics instead. Easter is more important than one holiday. Easter is also about much more than just one day’s festivities. It is more than a special meal or a new Sunday outfit (which I loved getting as a kid, by the way). It goes beyond nice little gifts and chocolate treats. Christmas, Palm Sunday, and Easter are about new life.
Easter is not the final chapter. It continues with our story as we grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus reached out through time, came to be our Saviour, and redeemed us. We can now be free in Him!
Laura Hurlbert-Nickerson lives with her husband on the beautiful east coast of Canada and loves to go the beach (especially in Prince Edward Island).