Easter Sunday just passed us. Happy Easter. What do those words really mean to you? What do they mean to me? This year, I found myself struggling with this holiday. As it approached, I was burdened with the thoughts of “what am I going to wear?“, “I need to buy my daughter a new outfit“, “what am I going to plan for dinner?“, “I need to clean the house“, “I need to shop for gifts for the kids” and “I haven’t gotten my Easter decorations out yet“. Not that those thoughts don’t occupy my mind every single year at this time. But this year, it bothered me.
As a Christian, I do remember what the Lord Jesus did here on earth for me. He was born for me, he died for me, and most importantly – He lives! I realize that Easter is the day we are to celebrate that, and often times Christians will say “Happy Resurrection Sunday” in lieu of “Happy Easter” – which is more fitting being that 1. It’s the one day we are celebrating His resurrection and 2. Easter was traditionally a pagan holiday. I am thinking, though – that it’s quite unhonoring to choose one day to make a big celebration over this. If He is the reason we celebrate, if He is the reason we live – ought we not to celebrate that fact every. single. day?
My social media feeds were flooded, as I am sure yours were – with pictures of grand celebrations of homes that were decorated with flower, eggs, and bunnies. Families dressed in their “Easter Best” with picture-perfect kids. And let us not forget the mountains of gift hoards, enormous baskets, baskets with gifts overflowing – extravagant gifts. It’s not just candy anymore. It looked more like a second Christmas to me.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s all beautiful. And I love cute things, and fluffy bunnies, and giving gifts to my children. But wow. I bought into all of this, too. I raised my kids doing these types of things. I told them that we were celebrating Jesus, that it was not about all of this stuff. But what did I exemplify? I did not walk my talk. The expectation to do all of this is all around us. But more damaging is that it’s inside of me. I place expectations on myself regarding this holiday based on what its around me in the world, and what I have always done. And that is the root of my struggle this year. To quote Cinderella, “Just because it’s what’s done, doesn’t mean it’s what should be done.“
So – I did not buy new clothes, clean house, decorate, or make way too much dinner like I normally do. I did go to church and spend time with my family. And it was all ok. I don’t feel as though I missed out on anything. I did use the day as an excuse to buy a little gift for each of my girls – but I always buy them stuff just because I love to, so it was nothing out of the norm for me 😉 )
I am on a journey this year. To BE more than what I have been. To BE the woman God wants me to BE. I believe the way my heart is struggling with this is a direct result of me drawing near to Him, opening my heart to listen to Him, and being open to Him changing me.
I don’t want to place these expectations on myself anymore. I do it each year at Christmas time, too. I hope and pray by that time, my heart will be at peace. I want to rest knowing that it doesn’t matter if I decorate the house “on time”, or that my kids only receive one gift vs. many, or that their stockings don’t contain $100 worth of gifts each.
The reasons for these holidays – for me, are truths that are planted in my heart that I will celebrate every day I am alive. I have a wonderful Savior who loves me like no other. He was born to die that I might live.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” 1 Peter 1:3