Easter

This time of year all the stores are covered with pastel colored decorations, candy, and bunnies. You can even go sit on the Easter Bunny’s lap and ask him to bring you candy and toys on Easter morning.  I always wondered how we got to the point where the Easter Bunny has so much importance in this holiday.  Yes, it is fun for kids to hunt eggs and have school parties. It is fun to decorate eggs, give them gifts, put them in their new church outfits.  But it is so much more important to make sure that our children know the truth behind this day.

Over 2000 years ago, a man from Nazareth, named Jesus was murdered. Hung on the cross with nails in his hands, a crown of thorns on his head. They laid his body in an empty tomb. And 3 days later, the tomb was empty!  Jesus rose from the dead to save us from our sins. He suffered and died on the cross after living a perfect life so that we would be able to live eternally in heaven even though we never can hope to live a perfect life.

Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved.  She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” John 20:1-2

That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  John 20:19-22.

Often times we can let the secular side of Easter overtake the true meaning of this day (same as for Santa at Christmas). While the traditions have gone a little haywire lately, we really need to find some grounding in what we celebrate to place our focus back on Jesus.  Take the Easter egg.  An egg is a symbol of new life.  When you decorate eggs, hunt for eggs, or eat that ever so delicious Cadbury Creme Egg, say a prayer of thanksgiving to God our Father, thank him for sacrificing His son for us and for Jesus resurrection on that third day so that WE may have new life in HIM!

We are blessed to be able to send our son to a wonderful daycare where he was able to hunt for eggs, and have a little party on Friday.  It was fun, but it wasn’t the most important thing we would do this weekend. Yesterday, we had our Life Group over for a celebration of our Savior and living our lives as Christians on mission to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.  And we had some yummy little Easter cupcakes for dessert (recipe will be below), but even that wasn’t the most important thing we would do.  This morning, we gave Macon some little treats in his Easter basket. And tonight we will be spending time with my side of the family.

But the most important thing that we did today had nothing to do with bunnies, eggs, or candy.

Today my family went to church and worshiped our Heavenly Father. We thanked him for His sacrifice in sending his son to die for MY sins. I am not worthy. But God created me and loves me so he wants me to be able to live eternally with him.  Macon is so young that he can’t really understand all of this yet.  We sing “Jesus Loves Me” to him everyday. We say the blessing at meals and he knows how to say “Amen.”  He knows when we go to church that we are going to see Jesus.

And I am convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow- not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below- indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from he love of God that is revealed in christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38.

So while you are spending time with your families today, eating some candy, be sure to focus on the real reason for this day. This Resurrection Day.  Thank God for saving us from our sins, for allowing us to live in this world with the full faith and knowledge that He has a spot saved for us in heaven because of Jesus.  Thank God that He is Risen!

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For our Life Group, I made some mini-cupcakes and wanted to share the recipe with you.  Two of the children who are part of our community are actually allergic to eggs, so I found a recipe for Lemon Eggless Cake that was used for my cupcakes.

Ingredients
  1. Butter – 1/2 Cup (Softened, Room temperature)
  2. Sugar – 1 1/4 Cup
  3. Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  4. Lemon zest – 1 tsp
  5. Milk – 1 1/4 Cup (Room temperature)
  6. Lemon Juice – 3 Tbsp
Dry Ingredients
  1. All purpose flour – 1 1/2 Cup
  2. Baking soda – 1 tsp
  3. Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
  4. Salt – 1/2 tsp

Directions

First preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a baking pan with butter or line with butter paper and keep aside. OR line a cupcake pan.

Now take a mixing bowl and all the items listed under “Dry Ingredients” and mix well until combined. You can also sieve it to get them combined evenly. Keep it aside

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Now, in another large mixing bowl, add the room temperature butter, sugar and beat it nicely until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and mix well. Now add the room temperature milk to the bowl and beat well until combined.

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Now transfer the prepared dry ingredients to the wet ingredients little by little and fold it until it gets combined. Do not beat it. (I did beat it and it was fine).  Finally add the lemon juice and fold it to get mixed. Your batter will get slightly fluffy with the baking soda reacting with the lemon.

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Pour the prepared batter into a greased baking pan upto 3/4 th of its height or a line cupcake tin.  Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let it cool down completely to room temperature before icing.

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Then make the icing.  This is my absolute favorite, go-to, American Buttercream recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened (do not melt, just leave on counter for 30 minutes)
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar (about 8 cups)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Directions: In a mixing bowl, beat butter until smooth, gradually add powdered sugar, alternating with milk until combined, add in vanilla.  If desired, add a little lemon zest and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

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One tip I have learned for coloring frosting is to put the food color in the icing while still in the mixing bowl and then mix it until combined.  It is so much easier to get the icing completely colored that way.

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I also used packaged fondant to color and make a bunch of little eggs for decoration.

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I tried to decorate the mini-cupcakes using the green frosting as grass with the little eggs on top.  But I had some problems with my grass tip, so then I just turned to an old trusty star tip.  They turned out to be the perfect portion control tiny little cupcakes, were perfectly moist and not too sweet.

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These cupcakes are cute. They are fun.

But most importantly, I was able to use them today as a way to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  That he died for me, for you, for anyone who will place their faith in Him, die to their self and be reborn in Him!

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.  John 3:16-17.

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