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Between Two Celebrations

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For most of my Christian life, the Easter season meant two celebrations: Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday. I knew the events of the week in between, but Sunday church services focused on the celebration.

Then, I attended a church that celebrated Holy Week. The whole week leading up to the resurrection, we met daily for worship and a community meal. The church remained open every night for prayer, foot washing services, and an interactive walk through the Stations of the Cross.

I was not prepared for the impact that taking these steps with Jesus through Holy Week would have on my daily walk with Him.

As I participated in each experience, I noticed myself slowing down. Instead of rushing from the fanfare of Palm Sunday straight into the Easter celebration, I stopped to consider what each step of Jesus’ journey meant to Him and for me. By the end of the week, my heart was breaking—for what Jesus had endured and for the hurting world around me.

The two Sunday celebrations are a wonderful reminder of what Jesus did for us on the cross. But I began to realize that by overlooking His path of sacrifice, I was missing something vital in my daily walk—the cost of following Him. In Luke 9:23, Jesus told His disciples,

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” (NLT)

Celebrating Jesus’ victory over sin and death is wonderful, isn’t it? But the cross? That’s uncomfortable and even painful. Yet Jesus calls us to pick up our cross daily and follow Him. His sacrifice is the ultimate example—to put to death our own will and desires in order that we may live solely for Him. That’s a harder truth to swallow.

But the wonderful thing about Easter is that it also reminds us that the ultimate purpose of our surrender is not mere servanthood—it’s about love. During Jesus’ last night with the disciples, they celebrated the Passover meal together. He did something they never expected: He washed their feet.

Here was God’s only Son—who was about to make the ultimate sacrifice—engaging in the act of a lowly servant. We don’t have to imagine how His disciples responded in that moment. The book of John records Peter’s adamant declaration: Jesus would never wash his feet! But Jesus gently reminded him (and us), “Unless, I wash you, you won’t belong to me” (John 13:8).

This act of service wasn’t just an illustration of our personal salvation. Jesus was giving us a tangible example of what taking up our cross and following Him actually means—serving others out of love. He told His disciples in John 15:12-13 to follow His lead:

“Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Jesus did just that on the cross.

That’s what Holy Week is about: love and sacrifice. The two cannot be separated. True sacrifice grows out of love—first, from God’s love for us and then, from our love toward others. We won’t be able to sacrificially love others until we have experienced God’s love and sacrifice for us.

Take the time this week to experience both—by walking the path with Jesus between the two celebrations.


Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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About The Author

Carolyn Fraiser

Carolyn B. Fraiser is a Writer and Digital Content Producer with Operation Blessing. She joined the staff in 2022 and works from her home office in Brevard, North Carolina, where she also writes books for children and serves on the board of Bound for Glory camp, a Christian literacy camp for children. When she is not writing, which is rare, she enjoys reading, playing the piano, and hiking to local waterfalls with her husband.

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