Palm Branch Nostalgia

I love Holy Week. Beginning with Palm Sunday. I’ve always loved Palm Sunday.

As a little girl I remember sitting in Sunday school class waiting with great anticipation for “big church.” Not just because I scorned that our church wouldn’t allow me, seven-years-old at the time, to matriculate into my Mom’s adult Sunday school class. And not even because the allotted big church hour was a sure-fire promise of an extended arm-tickle from the hands of one or both of my parents who were clearly trying to keep me sedated during the service. I’ve just loved the theatrics of Palm Sunday from the beginning.

You see, on Palm Sunday, the choir at Houston’s First Baptist Church would come flooding out of all entryways into the sanctuary carrying and waving massive palm branches. I can still picture them in their formal robes down to the floor streaming through the aisles. Yes, I said aisles, for ours was a sanctuary with multiple aisles. A whole bunch of them. I never have understood what all the fuss is about a center aisle. The more aisles the merrier. In my mind, if you’re really a good Southern Baptist, you want more aisles for the invitation at the end of the sermon. It’s less about pretty weddings and more about evangelism, church growth, and Lottie Moon. That’s how we roll.

Fast-forward fifteen years. Times have changed in typical fashion and since I have been out of my parent’s house, I have not attended even one church that has incorporated palm branches into their worship service on Palm Sunday. It’s funny because I tend to think of myself as sort of an old soul, yet I always attend contemporary churches. And I love contemporary churches, I might add. I also really like palm branches. This has created something of a dilemma for me.

An aside – so, last week was a bad week. Now, I didn’t say horrible, but it was relatively bad. I was having some severe migraines that were keeping me tied to the bed, which I hate. Then, my car got hit while it was sitting parked on the street. Hit and run. Go figure, right when we’re trying to pay Uncle Sam. Colin duct-taped it back together so we’re okay now. I then tried to gather myself enough to walk outside so that I could hunt and gather some food, so as not to fail my little family unit. I went to the store, bought all my groceries, and when I got home my rotisserie chicken was raw. It was raw. I have never even heard of a raw rotisserie chicken. Nearly threw me over the edge.

So back to the dilemma. Since I had a relatively stinky week, I knew that another Palm Sunday without palm branches would simply be too much for me to bear. So, we decided this past Sunday to search for the most liturgical church in our area. One that might just have some palm branches. Palm branches are the theme of this blog if you have not gathered it.

Have I told you how much I love the Lord? Sure enough, the congregation had gathered fifteen minutes early in the parking lot so that the branches could be distributed to each congregant. As we walked in the sanctuary, the congregation in its entirety were waving their palm branches. It wasn’t quite like I remembered it, but I didn’t give a rip. I was thrilled. I wanted to make a scene, a scene like David made with the ark of the covenant. I wasn’t planning on stripping off my outer garments (2 Samuel 6:20). But I wanted to make a scene. And I’m not even the especially demonstrative type. I’m actually quite reserved. In our family my mom sort of takes the cake in the dramatic worship department. And we let her. Well, she doesn’t ask for permission. But anyway, there is just something about Palm Sunday. It just moves me. I’d like to think that if I would have been in Jerusalem over two thousand years ago, I would have joined with the multitudes and gone out to meet the living and incarnate God, King Jesus, with a palm branch. Now I probably would have been too stubborn or even too self-conscious, but I like to think that I would have cried out “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD, even the King of Israel!” For, He was and is and is to be worthy of such outlandish and royal acknowledgment.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t think all churches everywhere need to have palm branches for people to hold on Palm Sunday. I just like it when they do. It is a tradition that I love. I tend to like it when we in our modern day churches try to engage the text and enter in. Palm Sunday is an example of experientially engaging with the text of John 12:12-13 and chiming in with those ancient voices. The modern fused together with the ancient – that’s what’ll get me going all mystical on ya.

Well, at the end of the Palm Sunday service I noticed the sweet lady next to me had several palm branches. So I gently and sneakily took one for myself to keep as a reminder for me during Holy Week. Colin keeps saying I stole her branch. But I didn’t steal her branch. She had like five. I just wanted one. One stinking palm branch to cover up those bleak palm-branch-missing years. Now I realize I should have probably asked her, but I blame my thievery on the Excedrin Migraine.

Oh, and as a side-note, Amanda just called me. She bought Annabeth’s first Easter dress. I’m not bitter. I promise.


This year I am nostalgic for all things Easter and all things Houston and my family. The Fitzpatricks don’t have the luxury of going home to Houston this year – I’ll say it again, we just paid Uncle Sam! And he is seriously grouchy. But, what I would give to buy a pair of outdated white patent leather shoes and a matching floral pastel dress and white hat with Amanda again – if only to embarrass her. She never was much for us matching. She was always too cool.

So if you’re still out there and you haven’t fallen asleep from my various tangents in this blog, then I would love to know what you love most about Holy Week. What is one of your favorite traditions in your home church? Something you look forward to year after year? It doesn’t have to be dogma or even something exceptionally reverent, though it might be; but it could just be something fun or sweet that your church does year after year to build community or even just to set apart this week as unique on the church calendar.

A peek at Easters past…

Annabeth comes from a long line of bow heads.

Look at my face! Is all my nostalgia really a hallucination?

Here we are with our Memaw. And I think that’s the Impala Amanda mentioned a few days ago.

I called my sister and said, “Look at the one of us in the hats.” Then Amanda pointed out that we are, in fact, wearing hats in every picture together. Also, notice her purple quilted Bible carrier.

Happy Holy Week from The Matching Hat Sisters!


200 Responses to “Palm Branch Nostalgia”

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  1. 51
    Just me~ Bobbie Jo says:

    Love your story today about palms. I so get what you mean! We didn’t have palms here at the church we attend(and love) and we missed them. Even my kids asked where they were. We did however have the most awesome program put on by our choir that was just filled with Jesus.

  2. 52
    Barbara S. says:


    I knew it was your post before I ever got to that part. It was like the first line. I’m with you on the migraines and I too have never even heard of a raw rotisserie chicken!That would have put me over the edge for sure. Bless your heart!

    Okay, I totally love Palm Sunday too. I grew-up going to a church with my grandparents that really celebrates the Easter season. I love all of the traditonal things too, although I know you don’t necessarily need them either. It is a wonderful way to get a visual of what happened when God came to earth.

    Anyhow, my favorite memories are like yours. My younger brother and I used to dress-up. It was a great treat. I love Easter bread so much. I love church and like you, I get myself in a pickle with the contemporary church thing. I get jealous when I hear my mom or someone else say that went to a Solemn Service on Friday (Southern Baptist) or they celebrated with palms, etc. I really miss the awesome fish-frys with my grandparents. I would fly in just for that if I could.

    Another completely worthless, yet fun thing I won’t give-up is hanging plastic eggs on a bare tree. This is a precious tradition to me because it was one of many joyful things that my sweet grandparents shared with me as a little girl. A year has not passed since they have done it with me getting that same wonder and warm feeling in my soul. This is the first year that I have not put the eggs out. First of all, my trees in the yard are way too big, although I did consider a ladder, that would be really stupid and risky, even for me. Honestly, I stopped myself b/c the trees are vibrant with leaves and have been all year–first year in Texas. I considered a fake tree or even sticking a small tree in the front yard. I, like you, am longing to be home in WV for Easter. I can just see my granparents yard and that beautiful bush with the eggs and smell the Easter bread. Mostly, I miss my family so much. Thanks for sharing and letting me share!

    I am enjoying my bluebonnets that I planted this year. We are all intrigued with bluebonnets, I’m so excited to have them.

    A major P.S. I use Maxalt MLT for migraines. It does not have side effects like Excedrin, not to mention, Excedrin does not help me. I have to take the Maxalt as soon as I feel it or it won’t work either. However, it does not give you the caffeine, pukey (sp?) feel like Excedrin. I love caffeine, but not in that form. You probably already know all of your options.

    Have a wonderful Easter,

    Barbara S.
    Katy, Texas

  3. 53
    Anonymous says:

    Loved your post on Palm Sunday and always love “Holy Week” observances. The pic’s of you two girls in your darling Easter hats, so cute! In our small Southern Baptist Church we have a traditional service called “The Centurion” which is done on Palm Sunday. Our “Seniors” Pastor, Pastor George Halley dresses up as a Roman Centurion and does a dramatic soliloquy from the prespective of the Roman Centurion viewing the Crucifixion and Resurrection of the LORD Jesus, following the biblical accounts of the passion of our LORD. It is spellbinding, and he holds everyones complete attention for the 45 minute preformance. I don’t ever remember a Palm Sunday preformance where someone hasn’t been saved. Several were saved this past Sunday, and we were praising the LORD! We didn’t have palm branches to wave, but all our palms were uplifted in praise and worship to the King of kings and LORD of Lords!

    Another tradition has just been started by our missions committee for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions of SBC. They built a lovely large cross and then lit it with tiny lights and for each 50 dollars raised towards our goal of $1500, a white lily is inserted. As of Palm Sunday we are just $50 short of our goal, and we know our goal will be met and exceeded by Easter morning. On Easter Sunday morning the entire cross will be surrounded with pots of live lilies. Each Sunday during the month of fund raising for NAMB they show videos of missionaries and their missions in North America and it has been a great way to pray and extend our vision beyond that of our own community ministry. Also this week, we have 21 signed up and ready to start “Mama Siesta’s” study on Esther. We just can’t wait, and that is the way we are celebrating Maundy Thursday tomorrow night, kicking off our Women’s ministry, Esther study!
    Love and blessings,
    Pam H.
    So. Cal.

  4. 54
    Julie Marler says:

    I have NEVER been to a Palm Sunday service. Never seen palms being waved – but heard of it! Loved your Easter pics of you and Amanda. Since you both are the same age as my kids – they all look very similar to our pictures of Easters past. And the duct tape thing – well, we took all our grandkids camping over spring break. My grandson got his tummy scraped pretty bad climbing a tree. We had gauze but no tape – so yep, my handy husband took duct tape and taped my grandson's bandage on his belly! Funniest thing we ever saw! My grandson was so proud of it – we had to take pictures with our phone and email to his mom & dad immediatley! Amazing what duct tape can do! Loved your post!

  5. 55
    connorcolesmom says:

    You make me laugh!
    I am not even sure where to start 🙂
    I totally agree with you about the palm branches and I also grew up in a church that incorporated the palms into the Palm Sunday – loved it!
    I have not seen it in years though and now I am missing it 🙁
    My favorite thing is the Maunday Thursday service and the Easter Sunday message
    It just gets me all excited and I want to stand up and say AMEN the whole time “HE HAS RISEN!”
    Love the pics
    You and Amanda are such sweet sisters!
    Happy Easter!
    Much love

  6. 56
    Shellie Paparazzo says:

    Love the hats! By the way, I love palm branches, too. The southern baptist church I used to go to had all the kids in the sunday school classes come in with palm branches and walk around waving them while we all sang. We missed palm sunday this year, so I don’t know what our new church does. It’s a non-denominational Christian church, so it’s hard to tell what they’d do. We’re going to a sader this Sunday at a relative’s church. We always love that.

  7. 57
    Kelli says:

    My dad would always make our palm branches into crosses. We kept them all year and it was such a sweet reminder of holy week and Jesus rising from the dead!

  8. 58
    Amaris in Wonderland says:


    It was really great to read your post. I’ve really been feeling nostalgic this year, too. It’s my 2nd year in a country where i have yet to see a sign of Easter, other than giant chocolate Easter eggs being sold at the store. It’s a cultural thing: not only country-to-country, but also Christian practices vs. a carnal view of just another 3-day weekend.
    I’ve been sharing with my friends here, the Easter traditions of our culture – and i mean Texas 😉 Buying an Easter dress… Palm Sundays, full of palms… Sunrise Service on Easter… Easter Play at main service… Kids' Egg Hunt with Family later… They were really amazed at how "into it" we are. They truly looked mystified. A new dress just for Easter? Incredulous. I told them to think of it as symbolic of a new life.

    To really get me, (verging on weepy) this year i will also be missing my niece’s first birthday party, which coincides with this Easter… I continuously thank the Lord for His provisons: His saving Grace…
    …and the internet – a blessing that keeps us connected to family, and home. (What did women do centuries ago, when moving to The West, the New World or the Promised Land with their husband? I can’t even imagine.) I hope that this Easter, you & your husband incorporate a new tradition to pass on in the future…

    *As for your migraines – i get them, too. Mainly from stress – in which the Excedrin Tension Headache works wonders, as opposed to the Excedrin Migraine formula. Go figure. (Something to do with the neck muscles at the base of the cranium…?) Lots and lots of water will help to open the veins that are restricted, due to the tension, as well. I’m only familiar with the stress migraines, but something that helps them all: make sure you have some BIG, dark, mosquito-eye-lookin' shades. (stunner shades) When my hubby comes home and sees me in the things, he knows it's "quiet time". I hope you feel better.
    Hugs to you…

  9. 59
    Tracy says:

    I love my contemporary church for so many reasons, but reading all of these posts makes me miss some of the great traditions. Why must we throw out the baby with the bath water?

    The funny thing is some of this stuff could be done at a contemporary service and it would seem new! I love to pull out the flannel graph stories when I am teaching little ones. They love it and are amazed because they have never seen it before. I have the complete attention of even the wiggliest child. What goes around comes around!

  10. 60
    Anne Lee says:

    Too many Easter service memories to share, but my absolutely most warm and fuzzy, upliting, joy-exploding one is the Easter children’s message at the church I grew up in in Asheboro, North Carolina.

    At the beginning of the service, there is a lifesize, old, dirty, “blood”-stained cross at the front of the church. The pastor explains to the kids that this is the type of cross on which Jesus gave His life for us, and that by doing so we each have a new, beautiful, and eternal life in Him. And to symbolize that rebirth, the kids then decorate the cross with the fresh new blossoms of spring that all the ladies in the church have cut from their yards. (The cross is covered in chicken wire.)

    Then, the best part is when at the end of the service, the organ pipes up loud with “Lift High the Cross,” everyone is singing… Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim, til all the world adore Him sacred name. And as we sing, one of the men carries the cross out of the sanctuary and into the world for all to see and enjoy.

    Wish I could be there this coming Easter morning. Good thing we are connect with all Christians everywhere as we celebrate this precious day.

  11. 61
    Anonymous says:

    OH Melissa you go to the Dr. and tell them you want one of the good migraine medicines They have so many now days. and they will knock a headache in no time. I had them for years sick as a dog . My Mom had them and she would be in bed for like three days at a time us girls me and my sisters would wonder why she wouldn't get up then after days she would get up and be just out of it from the headache well all of us girls got them too > but under control I take Zomig and so does my older sister. my younger sister is a Naturalpath and opts not to take drugs HA. That is the only time I take a perscription. Any way over the counter stuff or even pain meds do just make it worse and the more you take the worse it gets that is called rebound effect. So don't suffer go see a Dr. and tell them you want something.
    Ok now to Easter. my sister and I had little purses and white gloves. I was the youngest at the time ( my baby sister is 10 yrs younger didn't have her there yet ) Now in out pictures she will have a pretty dress on and me too but then in the next years picture I will have that dress on she had on the last year and she had a NEW one on!! Go figure !
    I love palm branches too and can remember them a time or two at our church. I.m a tad older than you but can relate still. HE Lives He Live Christ Jesus Lives Today.
    Just watched your Mom on Life Today . You all are such a blessing. Thanks for sharing and letting us share back.
    love you all

  12. 62
    Lindsee Lou says:

    This post had me so tickled because of y’alls adorable pictures. And, of course took me down memory lane of our church doing palm branches every Palm Sunday, too. I actually had the grand privilege of being one of the palm branch carriers down the aisles. (Or maybe it wasn’t such a privilege back then because I was so worried what everyone was thinking!) And of course, we did it singing the song you mentioned from a play we used to do at our church called “From Heavens Throne” and “Let All Heaven Rejoice”. Oh my, I do miss those days.

    Last year we just started doing a tenerae service on Good Friday and this year we are also going to do the Jesus Experience which is a walk through prayer labrynth type thing were you experiene at different stations the last few moments of Jesus life. That will be neat! So, lots of new things this year.

    However, I too am wondering what my “Easter outfit” will be this year. Is it bad that I still love shopping for it at this age? Oh well.

    Happy Early Easter! And I am thrilled you got a branch to take home. Go you!

  13. 63
    Lindsee Lou says:

    P.S. I forgot to add our traditional easter egg hung that unfortunately, no longer happens. However, as we got older our parents put money in the eggs, which I guess is why I miss it so now days.

    And, how about the time that we get to sing “up from the grave he rose again!” and I get chills every time. And some tears. Amen!

  14. 64
    Amy Jo says:

    Thanks for sharing the pics. 🙂 Praying sweet blessings on you, your family & LPM!

  15. 65
    Nesha says:

    Love the pictures of you two!

    My husband, my boys, and I are the first on either side of our families to celebrate Holy Week. I am so in love with Christ and so eager to share with the boys. I am envious now of the palm branches; I have never been to a service that did those. Next year, I will have to search one out. For several years, I have done the resurrection eggs and stories with the boys leading up to Easter.

    Just wanted to let you know that my family has been in Atl. for 2 days now for spring break and taking in all the usual sites. Staying downtown is a unique feeling but able to walk everywhere we want to go mostly. Today is Stone Mountain (driving). Tomorrow is the GA Aquarium and hopefully a Braves game. Much Love.

  16. 66
    Anonymous says:

    That’s so awesome about the matching hats ya’ll were so cute. Don’t worry Melissa we all have bad , I also get the stupid migraines the doctor told me females get them from their Mothers and it’s called migraine syndrome that includes all headaches . I will pray for you . We also owe Uncle Sam Back Hubby mesed up the taxes and sorry about your car.

    I love Easter week we I was a little girl and remember Palm Sunday we would put the palms in our rooms.

    Happy Easter and Have a Blesed Day!

    Love your Sister in Chrit

  17. 67
    Laurie O'Connor says:

    I grew up in a rural country church that had a sunrise service outside on a hill. We watched the sun come up during the service as we sang hymns like, “He Arose!” Then afterward the men of the church cooked up an old-fashioned breakfast of eggs, bacon and hash browns and served the entire church. We sat in our Easter finery and ate our fill and did some good ol’fashioned fellowshippin’.

    This year our family recently left our contemporary church here in Atlanta and started to attend a rural country church called Hopewell Baptist Church in Milton, GA. As I held my palm branch last Sunday, the pastor announced their sunrise service at 7 AM, followed by a church breakfast downstairs. I am telling you, I just about jumped out of my pew with excitment and whispered to my teens, “This is what it was like for mommy when I was growing up!”

    This Easter won’t be exactly like my childhood memories, but just like you Melissa, nothing is going to ruin it. And you and Colin are welcome to join us at 7 AM and breakfast if you wish. We aren’t too far from you. Just find the O’Connor family about the third pew back on the right. 🙂

    The tomb will be empty that morning. Our Savior lives.


  18. 68
    ems d says:

    Meliisa – Great blog. I (like everyone here it seems) LOVE LOVE Easter. My favourite time is going as a whole chruch (we are small- about 150 members) and having a picnic complete with a ramble, a soccer game and Easter egg hunts. It is such a lovely time of fun as a chuch family….

    Picked up some new ‘traditions to start’ here today though -and am going to ask for palm branches. I am also going out RIGHT NOW for some petty dresses, hats and white sandals for my two toddler daughters!

    As for our traditional picnic – looks like we are having heavy rain here in Blighty tomorrow so that might be cancelled 🙁

    Have a blessed Easter everyone

  19. 69
    Mom of Eleven says:

    GREAT post, I love Palm Sunday too! Thanks for the photos. I remember in one of my Easter photos, I had a side ponytail, NICE.

  20. 70
    jill says:

    I grew up in a church where Maundy Thursday was celebrated so reverently and beautifully that I yearned for it when I got older. Then about 5 years ago my “married” church began holding one. It is so touching and humbling this somber service and it makes celebrating His resurrection on Easter morning so much more special.

  21. 71
    tracy l. says:

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post!

    What I love most??? I too was an Easter hat child. To this day, I love a wide brim hat.

    Our church used to “flower” the cross on Easter Sunday morning with fresh flowers. (the cross was coverd with chicken wire) We only had about 50 people in our congregation on Easter Sunday so it was very intimate. We’d then take the cross outside and it would stay all week after Easter reminding us how beautiful Jesus is.

    My favorite part is that the week always ends in VICTORY!!!

    Tracy L
    Richlands, NC

  22. 72
    tracy l. says:

    I must share the conversation my kids had at the breakfast table this morning.

    My 7 year old-very-precise daughter: “Daddy, today is Passover right?”

    My husband: “Yes it is”

    Daughter: “So tomorrow they put Him on the cross?”

    Husband: “Yes baby”

    My Take the World By the Tail 3-year old son: “Who? Who put on cross?”

    Daughter: “Jesus!”

    Son: “Not me?”

    Husband:”No, not you”

    Son: “Uh. That’s good it not me.”

    Out of the mouths of babes!!!!

    Tracy L.
    Richlands, NC

  23. 73
    Gena says:

    I’m so glad this wasn’t “Palm Beach Nostalgia” as my eyes told me when I first read the title. Nothing against Palm Beach, but palm branches are much more timely right now…

  24. 74
    Anonymous says:

    Wow- this has been such an interesting post.
    I read all the responses and was amazed how similar some of the traditions are/were though many different denomintations were mentioned. I was even more surprised how many mentioned these traditions as being no longer practiced. – It amazes me because I have been struggling so much with many **new** changes that are altering the church I attend- and I thought this was happening only at my church.
    I actually cried after reading through and thinking about all the wonderful memories stirred up as everyone shared their nostalgia- cause I wondered how did it all become nostalgic.

    Jill in AL’s post really resonated with me because we used to sing He Lives, He Lives – but for the last several months we’ve had a major change in our worship service- every Sunday there is a new ballad
    to be followed on the power point- so I’m thinking we won’t be singing Up From The Grave He Arose this Easter Sunday. Not sure I like the change.

    Thanks again for sharing such a memory stirring post.

    Happy Easter.

    Patricia C
    Sudbury, On Canada

  25. 75
    Rebecca says:

    Sunrise service!! I know it’s early, hence the term ‘sunrise’, but I just love sunrise services. Growing up in a small country church, we had sunrise services outside, at someone’s home, and then we all had a good-ole country breakfast, with more things fried than KFC!! The women cooked, the men did their men-thing, and the kids played. It was wonderful, just wonderful. What a great way to celebrate Christ’s resurrection!!

    Rebecca in e.tx

  26. 76
    Anonymous says:

    I agree with Jill and others . . . one of my favorite parts of Easter is the singing. “Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er his foes. . . HE LIVES, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today” It stirs my heart. 🙂

    The occasional lilies on the altar and the occasional trumpeter in the service. . .those are beautiful and special, too.

    I grew up with palm branches and love Palm Sunday as well. I remember the small palm branches at my Grandma’s catholic mass, and the giant, hard-to-carry swaying palm branches we used for choir at our own interdenominational church when I was a girl. We now go to a church that doesn’t use palm branches–but I taught the Sunday school kids how to make them from green paper with the hosanna verse written on them. It was beautiful to see their smiling faces as they walked into the sanctuary with them and repeated their verse to the adults. 🙂

    I love just being happy and JOYful in the presence of our risen Lord and King, and celebrating Him and his relationship with us!

  27. 77
    Anonymous says:

    To: Warm in Alaska . . .thanks for sharing your sweet memories and thoughts. . . I enjoyed reading them!

  28. 78
    Momtotyandow says:

    My memories are not very spiritual, but they are what I think of when I think of Easter. Mom or Granny always made sure I had a new spring dress, white sweater and white sandals (patton leather). Granny always had the Easter lillies. I still so vividly remember the smell of them wafting through her house around Easter. We always bought her a corsage. It had to be white. She claimed that if your parents were deceased you wore a white corsage. I was planning to go get her a corsage this year as we have always done, but she is in a nursing home and doesn’t know me any more, her only grandaughter. They won’t let me pin one on her. Thank God I still remember the smell of those lillies. I hope somewhere in her mind she does too.

  29. 79
    Joyful says:

    Just about the sweetest ‘thang’ I’ve ever read…and I needed sweet today!

    As to what I love most about this Holy Week…it would be the tradition of the Easter Bread we enjoy (from a bakery..I don’t bake!) and the Bread of Life who has risen and given me resurrection life.

    Because He lives,
    PS. Our church had palm branches ;o)

  30. 80
    Kathy W says:

    Our pastor-emeritus, who was our senior pastor for 28 years started the tradition of greeting everyone, from the pulpit and just in passing, saying “He is Risen!”. The congregation or church member spoken to was to reply, “He is risen INDEED!” As a teenager I thought it was lame, but as an adult I have really come to love it. When that pastor retired, we have continued to incorporate that into worship services, teaching the new generations our old traditions. Easter has long been my favorite holiday, for where would we be without the resurrection??

    He is Risen!!
    He is Risen, INDEED!!

  31. 81
    WestTexasGirl says:

    I don’t have any special activity at our church for Easter Week. But….the reality of introspection on Good Friday is something I cherish. All day long, I look at the clock and think, “At about this time, Jesus was nailed to the cross…at about this time, Jesus said he was thirsty….” To the last hour of his earthly life when he proclaimed, “It is finished!” I relive what my Jesus must have suffered for me.

    Which makes the joy of that empty tomb on Easter Sunday morning so much more joyful!

    May God bless each of you with the reality of Good Friday and the joy of Easter morning!

    Judie – West Texas Girl

  32. 82
    Anonymous says:

    I love Easter…we live in Chattanooga, TN…love Palm Sunday…Maundy Thursday…it’s such a wonderful reminder of how much Jesus love’s me…on Palm Sunday we have all the children from the church march in…waving their palm branches in honor of our Saviour…from the tinest to the oldest…it is the most precious thing…and Maundy Thursday we come together as a body for communion and singing to recall what Jesus Christ would do for us…wonderful…wonderful…by the way, my girls always wore matching dresses…my oldest is not to thrilled about that anymore…but my set of twins still love it…matching or not…they are still just beautiful…

  33. 83
    Marla Taviano says:

    Oh my stinking word. LOVE this post! My brother and sisters and I have the most HIDEOUS Easter pictures. Ugh. Looking forward to spending time with extended family–and a sweet Celebration Service at church.

  34. 84
    Kim says:

    Ahhh, great “palm-heads” think alike. I found myself missing my childhood church also this past Sunday. We always came in carrying and waving palms – with the choir robes down to the ground and the colors. It was wonderful. And alas, my “contemporary church” doesn’t do this. So, when my son made a palm branch out of construction paper and paper towel rolls and it said, “Praise Hosanna”, he and I waved it wildly in the congregation. Members of the choir were staring and giggling. But I didn’t care. It was a blast! Picture me waving a palm branch at you!!!
    Kim Feth
    Apex, NC

  35. 85
    Anonymous says:

    Today, on Maundy Thursday, we will go to our church’s learning center and in the “upper” classrooms we will take communion in small groups. It is so meaningful to enter into the Last Supper story in such an intimate way. Last year my youngest son was the one to pass me the bread and the cup. So precious!

  36. 86
    Georgia Jan says:

    Melissa: I LOVE THIS POST! I love you! My emotions have gone full circle – laughter – tears – reflection – excitement!

    I laughed at the “aisles” comment (Lottie Moon – LOVE IT.) As a minister’s wife – I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard the “do you have a center aisle for my daughter’s wedding???” NO! We too have AISLES, and you’re right.!!!

    The tears came because of memories of my younger sister and past Easters. She died 23 years ago – she was only 25, and I miss her every day. She and I were also matched every year – sometimes the same dress, but a different color – I especially remember the year we had “parasol purses.” And always gloves.

    But because of Jesus and His glorious triumphant resurrection and victory over death, hell, and the grave – I will see her again one day!

    Loved this post – hope you feel better and sorry about your car, the headaches – the raw chicken, and most of all your homesickness.
    You know you could always trek South to see me – I have lots of room…

    And our choir is doing a HUGE medley of songs with “All Rise – Crown Him – and Hallelujah What a Savior” GLORY GLORY!

    Because He Lives,
    Mrs. Jan

    PS: Don’t worry about the palm branch – it was Jesus’s anyway – and she would have GIVEN it to you you darling young woman!!!

  37. 87
    Anonymous says:

    I heard the neatest thing on the radio this morning….that apparently the Gregorian calendar matches up with the Hebrew calendar this year and that this weekend is truly “the” day of the resurrection.

    The idea gave me chills!

    Have not checked it out for accuracy, but an interesting tidbit.

  38. 88
    Esabelle says:

    Thank you, Melissa, for your comments. They were touching and funny at the same time. I just plain love celebrating the death and resurrection of my Savior and Lord. It gets better every year in every way. Even though I’m not and old soul but am actually an old woman now, I don’t care if the service varies from year to year. It’s just more ways to celebrate and praise my Lord. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!!!!!

  39. 89
    Rose says:

    One of my fave posts on this site, you brought back a ton of ‘suppressed’ memories, see I was raised in the Catholic church married there, etc, all of a sudden I hit my mid 20s and was hungry for so much more that they weren’t offering but I have to say that is one of the things I miss, the palms, the passion on Friday, they did this whole play, so once in a while I take my kids to see a live production 🙂 Thank you for posting this!!

  40. 90
    Anonymous says:

    We have Maundy Thursday communion and I cry through the whole thing.

    I would like to attend a Stations of the Cross Service but have not taken the opportunity to do so. I’m not Jewish, however would also like to attend a Ceder dinner.

    Since last Easter I have completed Jesus the One and Only twice. I took it the first time right after Easter in 2008. God really blessed me through that study and I could not be quiet about it! I loved it and I loved what the Lord did in my life as a result of taking it. My pastor agreed, and gave me Sunday evenings. A group of about 12 of us, men and women, participated in the study. We timed it so that our last session was the Sunday before Palm Sunday. My prayer is the Lord will make this Easter’s meaning even more precious in our hearts.

  41. 91
    Anonymous says:

    Melissa, I LOVED this post. Remembering all those Easters in Wyoming with pink shoes, white gloves and SNOW.

    I have to say that this week for me has been a true high point. Last night (Wens) my family observed Passover together. It was an amazing and rich blessing. It is so powerful to really put myself (in my imagination) in the place and time our our Saviour Yeshua and observe and do what He did. What an amazing time! I am so grateful for the culmination of this week with His Resurrection, I can hardly stand it!

    Blessings to you!

  42. 92
    Redeemed says:

    Can I just say, “I’m jealous”? I know a spirit of envy is NOT a good thing, but I come from a particular denomination that does not participate in anything demonstrative regarding Easter (except for the little girl’s dresses and the Easter bunny). And I’m just dry from it…
    I don’t want to be critical. I just love the Lord like crazy (which is how most of my church family consider me, I’m afraid.) I taught a ladies’ Bible study this week and mentioned how each morning of Holy Week I ponder what Jesus would have been doing that day…just to give me that build up to Friday and SUNDAY!!!! They looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.

    I want a Palm Branch. I want Holy Week. I want Passion.
    I want JESUS. Not just the Easter Bunny.

    I just continue to love these people God has placed me in the midst of, even if they think I’m crazy, and wave my palm branch at home. Thank you for sharing this, Melissa.

  43. 93
    Anonymous says:

    Sunrise service – country style. We would meet at someone's house (we attended a small Methodist church) and have hymns and a small sermon Then we would go and have breakfast together- sausage, biscuits, gravy, eggs -the whole sha-bang. Then every one leaves – goes home & gets ready for church and then we have church service. I miss that community fellowship so much. That tradition. In the words of my Methodist upbring – He is Risen – He is risen indeed:)rhonda

  44. 94
    Anonymous says:

    My favorite memory from growing up in the First united Methodist Church at Easter is (well…..2 things) First, we would have sunrise service. I can’t remember if it was at 6am or 6:30am…but it was early. We would crawl out of bed to watch a re-enactment of the first easter which always ended with the choir singing “up from the ground he arose…”. Then we would go back to the fellowship hall at the church for breakfast. Since real church didn’t start until 11am we usually went back home for a quick nap (we lived really close to the church). Then during the real church service everyone brought an Easter flower and we decorated an “old rugged cross” (which had been made from the church Christmas tree) from top to bottom with beautiful spring flowers. At the end of the service the “methodist men” carried the cross out and put it on display right outside the church. IT was wonderful 🙂

  45. 95
    Anonymous says:

    As much as we hated getting up for sunrise we looked forward to it.

    We would get two dresses for Easter. One to wear to sunrise and one to wear to Sunday school and church. The fancier dress was for the later service. We of course all lived within 2 miles of church so we would go home (and nap) in between services.

    Also I love Easter HAM and deviled eggs… Did I mention I love ham.. I so love Easter ham and getting together with all of the family.

    All of our older generation has gone to heaven so we no longer have get togethers… THINK ABOUT THE EASTER HAM in heaven.. YAH.

    Love you all!!

    Many Easter blessings.


  46. 96
    Phyllis Twilley says:

    Loved your note.

    I confess that I hated those hats that I had to wear every Easter!

    My favorite part was not very spiritual~ I loved dying the Easter eggs the day before Easter and then having an egg hunt the next morning before church!

    My heart goes out to you concerning those migraines, Melissa. My daughter and I have both been delivered from them. Ask some real prayer warriors to pray with you so you won’t have to suffer through them anymore! You WILL be free of them forever in Jesus’ name!

  47. 97
    ncmama says:

    Loved this post Melissa! I feel the same way about Holy Week.

    I absolutely love the traditions of the Holy Thursday mass at the Catholic church I grew up in. The entire experience was always just so moving, and I felt this way even before I had a personal relationship with the Lord. One of my favorite parts of the service is when the priests and deacons of the church would wash the hands (I think feet would have taken too long in our large congregation) of each parishoner.

    I haven’t been a part of the Catholic church for years, but every year at Easter I think back to how my home church celebrated the season. Maybe this year I’ll find a local Catholic church to check out tonight.

    Happy Holy Week!

  48. 98
    Anonymous says:

    I love the pictures you shared. It brings back memories from my childhood and from my daughter’s. Oh, how I love the hats!!
    Thank you all at LPL so much for sharing and for this blog.
    I pray your migraines end. I empathize as I get them but they are so much more controllable with the new medicines that have come out. I hope you get relief from them.
    My church does an Upper Room Service that is my favorite of the year. The pastor has the table set up with chairs for each of the disciples and he goes around the table and describes them and their feelings and actions during the Holy week. The lights are down with only a spotlight on the table. We end it by going up to receive communion which is unusual for our church. It is a very moving service and I always sense the Lord’s presence. I can’t wait for tonight!

  49. 99
    Anonymous says:

    I’m United Methodist and we ALWAYS wave palm branches. Just a little jab there!

  50. 100
    Anonymous says:

    How funny. I was just telling my husband the other day about how much I miss waving palm branches. At the church that I attended when I was young, they had all of the kids parade down the aisles with branches. It was so my favorite Sunday. How I wish my kids could get to take part in this fun tradition. It really makes this great piece of scripture come alive.

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