I woke up late, head throbbing dull.  My heart hurt as well because I knew I had missed time with Him.  Time I had so looked forward to, wanting to remember this special Friday, to remember the Day He bore my sin.

The morning continued in the same disappointing way.  Late breakfast, difficult parenting moments.

I remembered with regret the Easter activities I had failed to accomplish. The special cookies I had failed to bake.  The mini tomb I had failed to make.

As my day wore on, my mood did not improve.

I was washing pollen and dirt off windows, feeling the weight of my failure.  My thinking went something like this, “I have really missed the mark this Easter.  I have not done enough with my kids to make this a memorable time with them.  I have not spent enough time alone with Him to set apart this day in my heart.  Is Sunday even going to feel special to me, when I have messed Friday up so badly?”

And then, as the dust came off the windows, allowing the light to shine through the once murky panes, right there in the midst of my self centered thinking, the Truth shone through into my heart.

Good Friday isn’t good because of what I do to remember it well.  It is not a day set apart to remember how good I can be.  Christ’s death is not more effective- I am not more forgiven- when I perfectly observe this special day.  It is not about me at all.

It is about a Perfect One, taking on the sins of the many.  It is about the Son atoning for the sins of His people, once for all time.  It is about the Lamb of God, crying out, “It is finished,” as He breathed His last.

In my desire to commemorate His death, I was instead trying to add to it, seeking to do my own good deeds to make myself feel good.  And when I failed, or headaches or schedules got in the way of my plans, my emotions caved.  I felt despondent. The more I focused on my sin and failure, the less I thought about the Cross.

As good as traditions can be to help me remember, only the Cross can reconcile me to God.  Only the Cross.  

And at the Cross, He bids me to come, here today, just as I am.  Because He has done all the work, I can rest from mine.

These thoughts still seem a bit scandalous to my works-loving heart.  As my earlier sadness revealed, I am still far too dependent on what I think I can do, instead of what He has done.

And tonight, as my husband read the Gospel account to us, and even my 4 year old proclaimed, “Jesus died to take our sins!”, my heart was able to rejoice in what He has done.  My day can end much sweeter than it began, because my focus has shifted away from my works and now my heart can rest in His finished work.  And Sunday seems sweeter than ever.