|Ah yes. The true meaning of Easter.|
When it comes to holidays, there's a growing focus on minimalism within the Christian community. Any number of popular blogs are addressing the over-the-top celebrating, which is prolific in our corner of the world.
Leprechauns and gold coins have bedecked St. Patrick's Day. Bunnies and an ever-widening array of designer plastic eggs have smothered Easter. Fireworks and a barbecue have overshadowed the truth of Independence Day. Thanksgiving is just an excuse to stuff our faces. Presents and Santa have usurped Christmas.
The Devil is naturally bent on profaning that which is holy.* What better way to distract us from true celebration than to hand us pseudo-celebrations to replace the sacred?
My children will still decorate eggs. The will still search high and low for brightly colored eggs, filled with candies and loose change. We will still take extra care on our appearance this Sunday. Why? Because it's Easter; One of the highest, holiest celebrations on the Christian calendar. Putting a little more effort into my hair on Easter doesn't detract, diminish or otherwise cripple the work accomplished on the cross and in the tomb. I know my holiday minimalist friends are cringing that I appear to be going soft, but hang in there with me.
I am all for doing away with the commercialism accompanying our holidays. One special day bleeds into the next and they are beginning to be generically celebrated. It's now possible to trim your home year round with a variety of holiday lights available on the market. Just take down the Christmas lights and put up the heart lights. Take those down and put up the egg lights, the flag lights, the skull lights. How charming.
But Cynthia, aren't you buying into this whole mess if your kids have matching outfits on Sunday?
Maybe. But I don't think so.
What do my kids see when their mama puts on her finest and double checks her reflection in the mirror? They see that something important, something BIG is happening. It puts a sense of magic in the air, and rightly so. It's up to us to tell our kids to tell them what that BIG thing is. Typically, going to church on holidays doesn't really connect with kids. It's not interesting and it doesn't help commemorate the holiday from a child's perspective. I bet if we asked our kids how they would celebrate Easter (with no preconceived notions), church wouldn't make the top ten.** I lay pretty good odds that our girls would say throw a party and invite the whole neighborhood. With that in mind, what does hunting through the yard for eggs say to my children? It says this is no ordinary day. The level of excitement runs so high the air practically crackles with glee. Now show them that it is Jesus who gives us reason to be gleeful.
This isn't about taking a middle-of-the-road stance. I'm not trying to find a "Christian compromise" or some sort of mash-up that keeps all parties satisfied. I am absolutely not suggesting we find a way to marry our beliefs to our traditions. There is no marrying the two. They are righteously unequally yoked. Our traditions exist to help us celebrate and commemorate the holidays, to remind us of what is holy, of what is uncommon in this common (profane) world. In order for this to be the case, we need to ask ourselves if the festivities are in service to to the main focus, or have they supplanted Christ, who is always, always, always the main focus?
The reason our society has begun a trend of commemorating less significant days, stems from our need to find significance and meaning. We need to flip this upside down and realize that we celebrate BECAUSE the holidays have significance and meaning. When we value the sacred of the holiday, how it is celebrated means little; It is that it is celebrated that means much.
So, whether you pull out all the stops or eschew anything pastel colored and chocolate coated this Sunday...
He Is Risen!
He Is Risen Indeed,
P.S. A shout out to the handsome man for his help working through this with me.
*Here's a little trivia: To profane is to make common. OK, not trivia-just a dictionary. Whatever.
**Seriously, don't you remember how long Easter church services were as a kid?