Written by Heather

Easter is my absolute favourite time of the year. Culturally, many of us celebrate the religious festivals of Christianity in this country but the focus is often on other things: Santa, presents, the Easter bunny, spending time with family and making fun for the children. My faith makes the celebrations about more than those things, although we do all those things too. At Easter, my thoughts are on the sacrifice Jesus made, the death and resurrection of Christ. It gives me opportunity to reflect and be thankful. It takes my thoughts off myself and my life and focuses me onto something bigger, something in which I put my trust and faith in. When I truly focus on God, the cares of the world dissipate and my anxieties fade.

The build up to Easter starts on Ash Wednesday (the day after Shrove Tuesday), which is the first day of lent. Lent lasts 40 days and represents the 40days Jesus spent fasting in the desert, during which time He was tested by satan but did not give in. To represent this some Catholics & Christians will give up something for lent; chocolate, meat, TV; or choose to take up something new, like doing more in the community to test their self-discipline like Christ was tested.

Lent ends with Holy Week, which starts on Palm Sunday, the Sunday prior to Easter Sunday. Palm Sunday celebrates the arrival of Jesus to Jerusalem, He was cheered and celebrated. Holy Week goes on to include the Last Supper, Judas betrayal of Jesus and of course the death of Christ on the cross before His resurrection on Sunday.

Easter reminds me so much of the sacrifice Christ made, for me. The Bible tells us that He would have come for just one of us, to pay for our sins that we might be free. In a world where imposter syndrome is felt by most of us, often I can find myself feeling ‘less’ than others and not good enough.

There have been years when I have become lost in the cultural traditions and forgotten about the reason we have Easter. As the years pass, the spiritual side becomes more and more significant for me. The time of reflection on the build up to and during this Easter celebration on the sacrifice of Jesus always, without fail, makes me feel differently. I feel loved. It changes me every year for the better. It changes the way I feel about myself and my internal dialogue. I feel more at peace with myself, less critical of myself and more thankful for everything.