Daily Foglifter: “The method for determining the date of Easter is complex and has been a matter of controversy. Put as simply as possible, the Western churches (Catholic and Protestant) celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox.” (Source)
It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of April. I think it’s because Easter is so late this year. I always think of Easter as the official beginning of Spring. But Spring sprung over a month ago. Nevertheless, Easter is here and it is the day above all days in the Christian faith. Christmas may get more hype, but without Easter, Christmas loses much of its import.
Easter requires preparation. The grand tradition of brand new Easter suits and dresses must be observed. Have you ever taken five kids shopping for clothes? It is the nightmare you are imagining, times 10. Thank God I had reinforcements. My saint-of-a-mother-in-law went with us and was there to witness the horror. The kids fought, ran in circles, and couldn’t keep their hands to themselves. #4 was on his absolute worst behavior and was lucky he didn’t get left at the mall. When he was hiding in a rack of clothes, the brief but glorious vision of me rushing everyone out to the car and driving off at the speed of light, was almost too perfect to resist.
Besides shopping for clothes, there is also the necessity of getting the kids’ hair cut. My oldest son is particularly resistant to haircuts. The unfortunate return of shaggy hair for boys is a trend I could do without. Of course, I don’t make a big deal about it. I decided a long time ago that hair was going to be a non-issue. My hubby has done some outlandish things with his hair in the past and I’ve dyed my hair so many times I have no idea what my natural hair looks like. If I had to guess, it would be gray or the shade of white that occurs after a horrendous shock or scare. How could it not be considering what I have to deal with on a daily basis? Anyway, I try not to be a hypocrite, so hair is kid’s choice. Within reason. The rule is two haircuts a year. One around Christmas and one at Easter because if the kid gets a new suit, he should at least look like a nice kid in a new suit and not a Bad News Bear in a new suit.
Have you ever taken 5 kids to get haircuts? It’s not as bad as clothes shopping, but #4 certainly gave it a run for its money. He refused to sit in the chair because he wanted his hair long. He wiggled and squirmed and whined until I whispered various threats in his ear. Then he calmed down. Briefly. When his haircut was finished he refused to get up because he wanted his hair shorter. He wiggled and whined until I dragged his behind out of the chair and sat him down in a chair. #4 is the answer to my prayer for patience. Be careful what you pray for.
I also have obligations outside my family. As my kids make up a substantial portion of the children’s department at my church, I am a logical choice for head of children’s activities. I don’t recall volunteering, but I’m it, nonetheless. It’s not that complicated. I have to arrange an activity for every season. Fall is Trunk or Treat. Winter is the children’s Christmas party. Summer is a lock-in. Spring is an Easter Egg Hunt. That means filling plastic eggs, hiding them, helping kids find them, and giving the kids a cupcake and juice and praying they don’t make a mess of their pretty new dresses and suits. Of course the kids always make a mess of their Easter clothes, but I do my best. I forgot to pick up the eggs so I called a dear friend and asked her to pick them up for me. She graciously volunteered to fill them for me and I gratefully accepted. Now all I have to do is bake some cupcakes.
Of course, there is the daunting task of getting five kids and myself ready for Church on Easter Sunday. It’s not easy. On a normal Sunday, I’m usually leaving the house with a wet head and have to resort to using the Dog-in-a-Car-Method of styling (hanging my head out the window so the wind can blow it dry. It is very effective for that messy bed head look that’s so popular. A little mousse and a the wind whipping my hair for about a mile or so and I’m all set. I hope that look stays around for a while.) But on Easter Sunday, it will be even trickier. The Sunrise Service begins at 7:00 am and is followed by a pancake breakfast. Of course I wouldn’t dare dress my kids in their sparkling new clothes to eat pancakes swimming in sticky syrup, so that means the Easter clothes will have to ride in the car. The odds of forgetting a crucial item of clothing (shoes, tie, or the perfectly matched hair bow it took me three hours and five stores to find) are pretty good.
As you can see, Easter Sunday causes a lot of stress and frustration. The question, of course, is Why? Why do we take a day that is supposed to be dedicated to the Lord and turn it into a week of toil and vexation? Why is it necessary to have new clothes and shiny new haircuts? I suppose it’s symbolic of Spring–new beginnings and being able to wear white shoes again. Easter is also an important celebration and it’s human nature to dress up for special occasions. Of course, this has nothing to do with the actual point of Easter. Jesus is not looking at our clothes. He’s not looking at our hair. And He certainly isn’t looking for Easter Eggs.
Jesus is looking into our hearts and minds and He doesn’t want to see turmoil, stress, negativity, and distraction. I hope that my heart is devoid of those things by tomorrow and instead holds Love, Compassion, Faith, Humility, Peace, and above all, Gratitude. Gratitude for the sacrifice of my Savior, who paid the price of my transgressions when I didn’t even know I owed a debt.
I hope everyone has a safe and happy Easter.
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30