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Thank Goodness It’s Good Friday

I have strict holiday rules.

I mean, I’m not some Martha Stewart-esque holiday girl. But there are certain things that are just important to me.

For example, no one plays Christmas music in my house until the Day After Thanksgiving or I will hurt them. All members of my family must wear appropriate festive clothing for anything Christmas related, such as seeing Santa, baking Christmas cookies or setting up the Tree (except my husband, because I can’t tell him what to wear). We do not open ANY Christmas presents until Christmas morning. Not even if my husband tries to melt me with pleading looks. (OK, I’ve caved on that one, but I’m not proud of it.)

It’s not just at Christmas. Easter has its fair share of important things. Children in my house must be dressed up. Floral for girls, ties for boys, etc. And pictures will be taken. Many, many pictures; before church, so that nothing gets spilled or smeared on Easter finery. And they’d better not even think about taking off those Easter clothes until after any potential Easter egg hunts.

And then there’s Good Friday.

I’m very particular about Good Friday weather. I don’t appreciate sunny Good Fridays. No, Good Friday should be rainy, foggy or at the very least, cloudy. And people should wear black. All black, preferably.

In all seriousness about Good Friday (not that I was joking before), I really do feel that there is an epic solemnness about this day that should be observed.

I grew up in the Charismatic church culture, where Good Friday was kind of passed over as a dreary inconvenience. At least that was my impression as a child. Maybe I’m wrong and everybody LOVED it. I don’t know.

But typically, all we did to “celebrate” was a prayer meeting over the lunch hour. And then, when I got immersed in the “revival culture” (if you don’t know what that is, you can message me and ask… or something), Friday night services were already the norm, so we pretty much did business as usual on Good Friday. And honestly, many churches don’t have any type of Good Friday gathering.

And I just don’t get that.

Good Friday is one of the most important days in the whole Christian calendar. I mean, we do realize that without Good Friday, there is no Easter, right? Without Good Friday, there’s no lily filled sanctuaries, no Sun-Rise Services, no chocolate bunnies, no egg hunts, no forgiveness of sins.

Without Good Friday, our whole faith ship is sunk. So why don’t we celebrate it? It seems like it would be normal to embrace the wild wonder of a Life sacrificed, revel in the mournful awe of Holy death, embrace the momentary gloom that will be replaced with resurrection splendor. Is it really so inconvenient to halt our normal routine and reflect on the fact that Jesus died so that we can live?

So I’m so excited (in a calm and mournful way, of course) for Destiny Church’s Good Friday Vigil.

We’re going to have a candle-light gathering in our living room, where we’ll sing about the beautiful cross, meditate on Jesus’ great sacrifice, share Communion and embrace the deep darkness that preceded the light.

And yes, a couple of kids will probably have a jumping contest in the playroom immediately above our vigil or wander through making car noises. But you know? I don’t care. I’m going to fully delight in Good Friday. You can count on it.

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San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers

Valentine’s Blues

Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone and Chris and I have kept true to our tradition… a tradition of lousy Valentine’s Days.

Chris asked me to marry him the day before our first Valentine’s, so I wasn’t expecting a huge blowout. I mean, it’s pretty hard to top a proposal and sparkley ring, next to a waterfall. Still, it was an interesting Valentine’s, and definitely what started our bad V-day luck.

Chris’ parents had graciously gotten us tickets to a romantic Valentine’s dinner at Old Washington, a historical village/inn in their town. Unfortunately the place had kind of overbooked, so they had multiple couples at each table. We sat with a sweet old couple, who were Christians. The husband had been a Gideon (you know, Bibles in hotels). They were thrilled to have a nice young couple to talk with all night, but somehow it lacked the romantic evening feel for us. The food was excellent though!

The next year, our first Valentine’s as a married couple was proceeded by a week in Mexico City, where we were checking out an opportunity to take on a Missionary position there. I cried the whole week. That is, until Chris told me he didn’t think God wanted us to move there… then I perked right up! Well, in retrospect, it’s good I cried all week, because God has us right where He wants us and it isn’t Mexico City.

So we spent the actual holiday flying home from Mexico. Not an ideal romantic time, especially when we got stuck in Chicago because the windshield wiper on the plane was broken. We actually succeeded in ruining someone else’s Valentine’s that year, because our friend Heather, who was supposed to pick us up in Milwaukee, was so nice as to drive down to Chicago to get us. Chad still asked her to marry him later, and hopefully they’ve had better Valentine’s since then.

Isaiah was only about 2 weeks old for our 3rd Valentines. Chris’ parents were visiting us and offered to babysit so we could go to dinner. The thing was I only had a 2 hour window until Isaiah needed to eat again. We didn’t count on everyone else wanting to go to dinner that evening too (What, did they think it was Valentine’s or something?!). After discovering that every restaurant in town had an hour wait, and with my 2 hour window shrinking rapidly, we settled for a coffee shop and picked up some Wendy’s on the way home.

We were starting to discover that Valentine’s Day just didn’t work for us, so the next year we decided to beat the crowds and celebrate the Sunday before. Chris is a huge roller coaster fan and I had never been on one. He decided the perfect romantic outing would be my introduction to the Giant Dipper at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. I hated it. He made me ride it 6 times, thinking if I rode it enough I’d come around. I still hated it. Somehow, the fear of immanent death by flying out of a roller coaster was not my idea of a romantic afternoon, even if it was right by the ocean. Still, I got cotton candy, so it wasn’t all a waste.

Last year, Valentine’s landed on a Wednesday. We had church on Wednesday nights, so we weren’t able to go out for dinner then either. I think we just went out another night, but the actual V-day was still unromantic.

So this year, we had everything set. We had the lovely Vic scheduled to watch our kids. Chris’ mom had sent us money to go out to dinner. But you can’t fight nature. My Grandpa passed away (he was 90!) so the kids and I left on Wednesday for Wisconsin. I spent Valentine’s Day at a funeral and Chris spent it sick in bed from a cold he’d picked up somewhere. I think this year tops them all, especially as we weren’t even together.

So we’ll go out for dinner a week late. I told Chris, “Our hearts don’t know the date.” In spite of all our Valentine’s Day woes, I’m the happiest woman alive… because I’m married to the man of my dreams. That makes every day Valentine’s Day!

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