Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Here I sit, computer in hand, sitting in a chair on the back deck and I couldn't be more excited to have the opportunity to write. Once again, it has been too long since I have had the time to sit and express my thoughts. Today is no different, except I am choosing to ignore my list of things to do and enjoy this beautiful day outside. I'm sure I will pay for this later, while the loads of laundry are piling up, the house is getting dirtier, the homework harder, and the to do list is growing at an exponential rate. However, being born and raised in Florida, I have been waiting for the hot weather and sunshine very impatiently through the irritably cold winter. Now that it is here, I'm going to enjoy it.

This past Sunday was Easter, a day I have loved for many reasons for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I anxiously awaited the arrival of the floppy-eared, carrot-eating animal, the Easter bunny. I loved waking up to an Easter basket filled with clothes, movies, and lots and lots of candy. I loved (at the time) picking out Easter Sunday dresses, matching outfits for my sister and I, and little stuffed animal bunnies to go along with it. I loved spending the day as a family, eating lots of food and enjoying the relaxing time of togetherness. The part I enjoyed the most was the sunrise service on the beach on Easter morning. Friends and family gathered together, three crosses placed in the sand, watching the sunrise behind them, and hearing a message of the hope we have in Christ, because Christ arose from the tomb, He is alive and risen!

This Easter was drastically different, for the sole reason that I didn't go home this year, which meant no sunrise service on the beach and no time spent with my family. But Easter still went on without the things I have grown accustomed to. I am thankful to have had a sweet family to spend Easter with and experience my first Easter in Knoxville, probably the first of many. I do have to get used to the fact that I won't always get to go home for special holidays and that home may not always be in Fernandina Beach. Anyway, we went to church on Sunday morning, prepared to hear your typical Easter sermon of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This sermon, however, was very different. The pastor discussed more of the hope we now have due to the resurrection of Christ. It was a sermon on Heaven, one that upon leaving I was disappointed I didn't get to hear the typical Easter service. Now looking back, the sermon touched me and meant more to me than I even realized. The pastor began by talking about how most of us aren't ready to go to Heaven yet, one day but just not quite yet. I totally related and that statement had my name written all over it. I'm always the one who looks at it as I want to be able to get married, pursue a career, have children, etc. etc. before I am ready for Heaven. So, the sermon from Sunday morning has clung to me.

Here are the main points:
Why should we focus on Heaven?
1. Heaven reduces our attraction for this world
2. Heaven strengthens our faith in difficult times
3. Heaven increases our outlook after death
What will Heaven be like?
1. We will marvel at its beauty and size
2. We will experience healing and relief
3. We will see friends and loved ones in Heaven
4. We will meet God and Jesus there

I cannot begin to focus on one point that hit home with me, purely because all of them did. It reminds me so much, as the pastor stated, that this earth is just our temporary home!!! By focusing on earthly things we will get discouraged and the things of this world will not be here forever. One day, we will be free of pain and sadness, the word cancer will not be mentioned, I will get to see my Nanny and many other loves ones who have passed, and most importantly, we will see JESUS. Words cant describe the feelings of joy, excitement and happiness I feel when thinking about Heaven now, as opposed to the sad and depressing thought Heaven once was. Today I'm thankful for the hope I have in Christ.