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March Madness

It’s now March and the beginning of melting snow, emerging tulips, Daylight Savings time, the celebration of Easter, and Saint Patrick’s Day [by the way he was an evangelist/priest not a man decorated in a shamrock suit]. But I know a diverse group of people whose focus this month will be completely different. Mothers will dye and hide pastel-colored eggs for their kids, children will await the Easter Bunny and masses will celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. I personally know some older people who will begin planting gardens and reckless younger ones who will use Patrick as an excuse to get plastered on green beer.

In spite of all the reasons to celebrate the new beginnings of March, the world is in a mess. The television nightly burps out the angry opinions of politicians against their rival parties! Last year’s South African track Olympian is accused of murdering his model girlfriend, and the gun debate has transformed into a war of its own. Heated and cynical viewpoints are shot from both sides making me wonder if bullets are any more lethal than the criticism. Sure, words don’t kill bodies but they certainly have power to destroy the soul. Also, under the canopy of madness, North Korea contemplates nuclear warfare on America.

For my family and me, we will temporarily be able to leave the world’s problems behind to follow two annual traditions that become a huge spectacle. The first is the college basketball tournament called “March Madness.” Missy, our three kids and I will fill out a tournament bracket to predict our champion. Whoever guesses the most games correct will win $100 cash. There will be constant counting and marking of the sheets with Sharpies to see where each stands in the contest. Strangely, my wife has won bragging rights the last two years, despite picking teams based on their mascot or color of uniform. For several days, we will be doing nothing but eating snacks and watching the games. Usually, we go out of town and stay in a hotel or mountain cabin to enhance our party so between games we can swim, shop, hike, etc. It’s a great time to reconnect as a family.

Our other tradition is Resurrection Sunday. Early in the week, we will take the Lord’s Supper at home as a family and read the story of Christ’s death and the emptying of His tomb. On Sunday, we attend church and gather with extended family to eat and give thanks for God’s incredible sacrifice. Missy insists the kids awaken to Easter baskets that morning even though I think two of them are way too old. She told me last night that as long as the kids were at home, they would continue to get the yearly treat regardless of their age.

This year we are adding to our tradition something new. As a family, we will watch the movie, “The Passion of The Christ.” I’ve wanted to do this for years but I felt my youngest wasn’t old enough. It will be a great way to stay focused on what is most important to us and leave all the craziness of March and the world in our rear-view mirror.

-- Jay

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