The Barbara Rainey Podcast

How can we do a better job of representing the significance of Jesus' death and resurrection in our Easter celebrations? Barbara Rainey explores both "why" and "how" we can celebrate our Savior's Resurrection.

What is The Barbara Rainey Podcast?

Barbara Rainey mentors women in their most important relationships. She loves encouraging women to believe God and experience Him in every area of their lives.

Samantha: Think through the holidays of the year. From New Year’s Day all the way around the calendar to the next New Year’s Eve, we do quite a bit of celebrating and remembering, don’t we? According to Barbara Rainey, humans are hard-wired for this.

Barbara: I started thinking about this many years ago. I was actually longing for something like this when I was at home raising our six kids because as the holidays rolled around . . . it’s interesting when you have children. Kids know intuitively something’s different about this day or about this season.

Samantha: Welcome to the Barbara Rainey Podcast, dedicated to helping you experience God in your home. It’s so good to have you along.

Barbara: I think it’s a setup that God has orchestrated for us to be able to pour truth into our kids’ hearts, and it’s primarily because the basis for most of our holidays are actually biblical. So, even though the Old Testament people didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, God made a big deal about us being thankful people and being grateful for what He has done.

I think that whole pattern that God initiated with His people of coming to Jerusalem three times a year, of having those feast days, feast seasons in their lives, He knows how easy it is for us to forget Him. He knows how prone we are to wander. And so He says, “Gather together. Come together, and remember Me.”

Samantha: There’s something about the repetition, the traditions, the songs we sing, and the break in our routines that helps reinforce and shape concepts of history, even theology. Barbara says it extends to all of us, beyond Old Testament times and traditions.

Barbara: Right. Especially Easter—because Easter is the New Testament holiday that sprung from Passover. Easter occurred simultaneously with the Passover the year Jesus was crucified.
Even Christmas somewhat parallels the festival of lights, which wasn’t one of the original festivals that God initiated in the Old Testament, but it is and was celebrated for many, many centuries by the Jewish people.

Our holidays have a reflection back to what God initiated in the Old Testament. So when we take time to celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas, when we take time to celebrate His resurrection at Easter, we are mimicking, we’re continuing the traditions that God established in the Old Testament.

Those holidays help us remember who God is and what He has done and the privilege of belonging to Him, the absolute, amazing truth that Jesus came to earth at Christmas—He didn’t have to do that, but He did—and that He came to earth in order to die.

When we get our families together, around those two holidays in particular, and we talk about what Jesus did, it’s a great opportunity to teach them. It’s a great opportunity to remind them and ourselves of how great our redemption is, how great our salvation is and that adds so much meaning. It adds so much depth to your family when you can center your holiday around the true meaning behind it.

Samantha: You and I are created to respond well to the various rhythms of life. When He created us, God knew we were going to need rest, so He modeled that for us by resting on the 7th day. So we need regular times of rest. We have monthly celebrations and annual ones, as well.

The irony comes, of course, when we turn days that were meant to be breaks from our work into high-pressure scenarios, with long to-do lists, and we put ourselves under the pile.

Jesus criticized our tendency to heap up our own obligations and rules onto things when He said, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

For years, Barbara has worked hard to help families redeem the holidays—make them spiritually significant in our lives.

Barbara: That really is a desire of my heart, and I believe God put it there twenty or thirty years ago when I was raising my kids and longing for a way to take the commercialism out of Christmas and focus on Jesus and to take Easter and make much more out of Easter, to elevate Easter, to focus on what Christ did for us.

I was so swamped with my children. I was so busy. I was so tired all the time. And even though I tried to come up with some creative things, I just didn’t have the capacity in that season of my life. But as I became an empty nester, I began to have the time, and the creativity started to come back.

And God, in His kindness, opened some doors for me to be able to work on helping young moms, like I used to be, have ways, have resources, have things they can do with their kids so they can point them to the real reason for the season.

Samantha: Here in 2024, Easter Sunday falls on March 31st. There are so many opportunities for Easter-related discussions that get below the surface. One helpful resource designed to draw our thoughts toward our Savior, is a set of cards from Ever Thine Home.

Barbara: Well, the original intention for those was to help make your meal on Easter more meaningful. So whether you have a big brunch, or you’re having a nice dinner after church on Sunday, or if you choose to do something in the evening, it’s a way for you to have a meaningful experience at the dinner table, have a meaningful conversation.

They are a set of eight cards, and you can put them on the plates or around the table. They’re numbered. From card one to card eight, they tell the story of the cross. They tell the story of Jesus going to the cross and then the resurrection at the end. It reminds you as you gather with family or friends this is why this day matters. This is what Jesus did.

The cards tie the experience into the Passover feast and a number of other things that are woven throughout the Old Testament. It helps us learn, too, as we read them, the meaning behind what Jesus did for us.

Samantha: Even if you live by yourself, the Resurrection Day cards provide great devotional reading through the week leading up to Easter. It gives you a wonderful opportunity to meditate on the symbols, the pictures of the resurrection that are hidden all through history and ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
The cards have drawings on them. These are images that represent the different events associated with and surrounding the death and resurrection of Christ.

Barbara: Yeah, I found this old book at a garage sale. It was a book about Easter. When I flipped it open, every other page or so was illustrated with these amazing pencil drawings, line drawings. I bought the book for fifty cents or something and brought it home. We contacted the publisher, and they gave us permission to use those.

Not only do the cards have rich, wonderful stories to read, but the opposite side has an amazing pencil drawing of Jesus or His hands praying or the angel at the tomb. They’re incredible artwork.

Samantha: I’ll let you know more about the Resurrection Day devotional cards coming up. But Barbara points out the importance of what we’re actually celebrating at Easter. Here, she quotes the English author and theologian N. T. Wright.
Barbara: He said, “This is our greatest festival.” For Christians, it’s the pinnacle of our faith. It’s what holds it altogether. If it weren’t for the cross, Christmas would be meaningless. We wouldn’t even know it happened, probably.

He went on to say, “Take Christmas away, and in biblical terms, you lose two chapters of the front of Matthew and two chapters at the front of Luke, but nothing else. If you take Easter away, you don’t have a New Testament. You don’t have Christianity. And as Paul says, we are still in our sins.”

He goes on to write about how we need to make this an exuberant celebration. We need to jump up and down and cheer and dance and clap. We need to be happy. We need to rejoice. I mean, think of what the disciples felt when the women went to the tomb and He wasn’t there? When they believed, do you think they just were excited on Resurrection Day and then Monday morning, got up and went back to life as normal? No! They were transformed for the rest of their lives.

We’ve become so familiar with the stories, so familiar with the holiday, that, we go to church—we may dress a little differently—the music may be slightly altered from normal, we go home, and have a nice big lunch, maybe, the television goes back on, kids go back out and play, and it’s over. Then we get up and go to work or to school on Monday morning as if nothing happened.

It just kills me. It grieves me. It’s so wrong. I think, even though we intuitively as believers know something needs to be different, again, no one knows what to do. So I’m on this personal crusade of sorts to say, “We need to make a big deal out of Easter. We need to elevate it. We need to have a grand, glorious, fabulous party.”

I’m not talking about making it full of consumerism like Christmas. I’m not talking about replicating anything that we have at Christmas. I’m just talking about gathering with family, friends, your whole church, whatever it takes to make a big celebration and make a big statement.

When you think about it, the world is watching us as believers. Right? They see a lot of believers go through forty days of Lent. They see them give up something. They see them be sort of sad, or whatever. And then they see Easter come, and it’s over in a couple of hours. I think they probably look at us and think we’re kind of strange.

I think, instead, if we had this amazing celebration with a feast and with music and clapping and all of that, I think the world might take notice and go, “Oh, they’re really serious about this Jesus. They really believe that this was important. Look how they celebrate.”

I think we have a great opportunity to witness to the watching world, to proclaim our faith on Easter Sunday in a way that people will take notice, and they will say, “Oh, there must be something about this Jesus, and I want to know more.”

Samantha: 1 Corinthians chapter 15 is sometimes referred to as the “Resurrection Chapter” of the Bible. In that passage, Paul ticks off a list of the things that would be true if there were no resurrection. Among them, he said, we would still be in our sins. He wrote:

“If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

But he went on to say, the fact that He did rise
gives purpose to our lives,
we’re accurately representing God,
our faith does have meaning,
sin no longer has dominion over us,
we have the hope of life after death, and
we are, of all people, most blessed. The curse is undone.

That is worth celebrating!

Still, it takes intentionality, it takes some time to focus on what He’s done, and then, beyond that, to celebrate it.

Barbara: I agree. I think it has become ho-hum for all of us, and I’m included in that, too, though I’m working really hard to change it.
Samantha: Not too long ago, Barbara, her husband, Dennis, and the whole Rainey clan went out of their way to intentionally make a big deal about Easter.

Barbara: It was really a wonderful experience. I thought, Okay, I can talk about this. I can think about this. I can write about this. But I need to do something about this.

We had the opportunity for five of our six children and their spouses and their children to come home for Easter weekend, and we’ve never done that since they left home. Our children come home at Thanksgiving, sometimes Christmas, but we’ve never gathered for Easter.

So that in and of itself was a significant change. Then I decided that we were going to have a feast like none other on Easter Sunday. We got these tables that I borrowed from a friend. There are thirty of us.
We had three tables, end to end, and it really did look like it was a table that went on forever. I borrowed chairs from friends. I set the table all in white and gold, borrowed white plates from friends so that I would have plates, because I don’t have thirty white plates.

But I created this atmosphere with lots and lots of candles. My kids looked at me kind of funny when I asked them this, but I asked them if they would all dress in white. People used to always wear white at Easter, and it wasn’t just because it was a nice thing to do.

People dressed in white symbolically to say, “This is what Christ has done for me. He has saved me, and He has washed me clean from my sin, and because of the resurrection, I am clean.” And one day in heaven, we will be dressed in white linen, sparkling and bright.

So on Easter Sunday, not only do we celebrate what Jesus did, but if we wear white, we’re foretelling what will happen one day when we have the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and we will be seated at a really long table, all dressed in white.

We had such a great time. I hired someone to cook because I didn’t have time to do all that. We brought in all this food. We had it in a neighbor’s barn who has an upstairs. We lit all the candles, and we played music, and we had a great feast. Then after it was over, we decided . . . I wanted to dance. I just wasn’t sure how it would work. We’re not great dancers, but we played all this music, and with the kids, we all got out there.

It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t beautiful dancing. But what it was, was celebratory. All of us together got out on the floor, and the little kids were jumping and doing cartwheels, and the big people were feeling awkward because we’ve never done this before except at a wedding. And, yet, I wanted us to collectively celebrate the resurrection as if it had just happened that day and we had just seen Jesus, and we couldn’t contain ourselves.

It was my first stab at trying to initiate that into our family and to invite our family into celebrating with great exuberance because that’s what Easter deserves.

Samantha: Well, you might not be able to have a barn dance to celebrate Easter like the Raineys did, but you and I can definitely be more intentional about making it special in some way.
We mentioned the set of eight Resurrection Day devotional cards. You can use them at your table on Easter Sunday or during a special meal anytime. Or you can display them somewhere in your home. They’ll help you meditate on what Christ has done for us. You can order a set from our Etsy store, or you can download and print them yourself.

Here’s the simplest way to get to our Etsy store. Go to, and one of the tabs along the top is “Etsy.” Select that, and you’ll see all sorts of Easter-related resources.

Thanks for listening! May your heart be full of the wonder of what God has done for you as you celebrate Easter this year. I’m Samantha Keller, inviting you back for another episode of the Barbara Rainey Podcast, from Ever Thine Home.