Andrew C. Schroer
My favorite Christmas movie of all time is the movie Elf. In the movie, Will Ferrell plays a man who was raised as an elf at the North Pole. At one point, Will Ferrell’s character is standing in the toy department at Gimbels Department Store when the manager suddenly announces that Santa will be there the next day to meet the children.
“Santa!” Will Ferrell shouts, jumping up and down like a four-year-old. “Santa is coming!”
That is how I feel when Holy Week is coming.
Every year, Christians around the world celebrate Holy Week, following the last days and hours of Jesus’ life. It begins with Palm Sunday when we lay our palms in Jesus’ path as he enters Jerusalem as our Savior King. Then on Maundy Thursday, we follow Jesus to the upper room where he celebrated the Passover with his disciples for the last time and gave the Lord’s Supper for the first time.
On the Friday we call Good, we sit in somber silence as we see our Savior die in the darkness, suffering our pain and punishment in our place. We then return on Sunday ready to celebrate his miraculous resurrection with lilies and alleluias.
Every day of Holy Week is unique. Every service is special. The music, the symbolism, and the truths proclaimed lead us on a roller coaster of emotions and self-examination.
Holy Week turns our thoughts away from the distractions of this world to the most basic and important truths of our faith.
I love Holy Week. I can’t wait for Holy Week to get here every year. I feel like Will Ferrell felt when Santa Claus was coming.
But most people aren’t like me. I mean, sure, Holy Week is nice. It’s important, but they don’t get excited about it. They don’t spend weeks getting ready like they do for Christmas. Sure, people get excited about Easter, but the rest of the week seems somewhat like a drag.
I compare it to weddings and funerals. Christmas is like a wedding. Holy Week is like a funeral. Christmas is a celebration. Holy Week is somber. Christmas is about birth. Jesus died at the end of Holy Week.
This Sunday, ask your pastor which he would rather conduct—a wedding or a funeral. I am guessing he will say a funeral. Why? Because though weddings are nice, everybody gets distracted with all the preparations and decorations. God and his promises get lost somewhere in the shuffle of cakes, flowers, and bridesmaids. In many ways, the same is true for Christmas. The true message of Christmas often gets lost in the hustle and bustle.
Funerals, however, are different. At funerals, people are hurting. They yearn for the comfort God offers in his promises. Death has a way of laser-focusing our hearts and minds on what is really important. Holy Week does that. Holy Week turns our thoughts away from the distractions of this world to the most basic and important truths of our faith.
Holy Week helps us remember what is really important. It helps us appreciate what our awesome God did for us in his amazing grace. Holy Week is what the Christian faith is all about.
So celebrate Holy Week. Make the most of every worship service available to you. Each service is unique. Each service is special. Take the time to quietly remember what Jesus in his great love did for you.
Isn’t it exciting? Holy Week is coming!
Author: Andrew C. Schroer
Volume 107, Number 04
Issue: April 2020