My guess is your weekend was pretty similar to mine. Fluffy, pastel dresses, adorable bowties, boiled eggs floating in dishes of food coloring mixed with vinegar, and odd colored scribbles on a paper Jesus rising from the dead. The sights and smells of my back-in-the-day childhood spilled over into the frenzy of my right now adult life.
As an adult, my understanding of this day has changed quite a bit since I was little. In some ways, I tend to turn my grown-up nose up at some of those traditions, feeling like maybe we should just let today be about what it is and not add the fluff of the bunnies. Lord knows, I’d rather not have to pull plastic grass out of my vacuum cleaner for the next month.
But, something happened today that I didn’t expect. I had fun.
I don’t usually have fun on holidays because I’m, you know, the Mom, now. The festivities are dependent on my ability to execute them gracefully and to be honest, I’m a terrible event planner. Let’s just hit a drive-thru on the way home from church and call it done.
However…I have four daughters. And as usual, the gospel that we celebrated today with our songs and the flowers in our hair, revealed itself as I watched them enjoy the day. Because if there was one thing that should have happened today, it was fun.
Too often, I am intensely looking for the deep meaning of life and the melancholy truth of the brokenness that is so obvious. I love the tragic poetry and stories of the doomed romance of star-crossed lovers. So often, this is the lens through which I view the work of Jesus. We are the damsel in distress that the hero must rescue from the evil villain. The rescue is made when the hero tragically dies and the credits roll.
And it’s true that the reality of our brokenness is where it all starts. We are a people who were completely separated form God, headed for ultimate tragedy, unable to find our way back to him. The plot thickens as we see that while we were still lost, Jesus came and died. He did what we could not do. He took the burden of our sin and the scorn of our shame.
But then, when all had been done to save us from our sin, he did the one thing no one else could do. He resurrected. Unfathomable.
My problem is, I get stuck in the dark part. The part where I am terrible and so Jesus had to die. I forget to celebrate the best part... He rose again.
But my kids don’t forget it.
They celebrate. They celebrate hard. The clothes, the shoes, the decor, the food, the music, the joy, the laughter-they go big until they go home. And so they should, because this is the best event we could ever celebrate. It is better than birthday parties, Christmas, weddings and all the other events combined. Those things are simply a shadow of the best event ever. The resurrection of Jesus, the firstborn from among the dead (Col. 1:18), the new birth of every believer, the groom who is coming for his bride-this is the epic scene. This is worth the effort to get up and run like a crazy person all day. This is worth singing all throughout the day, even when you undercook the green beans.
This is what it’s all about.
And we mamma’s get to orchestrate the festivities. We get to color coordinate the clothes, cook the food, put the headbands back on their heads 10 more times before we leave for church and then one more time as we get out of the car. We get to celebrate, too. Because we aren’t just trying to create good memories to post on Instagram, we are trying to create Gospel moments when our children will hear the good news of what Jesus has done. And we pray with all of our mamma heart that they respond with worship.
Today, I stood with my family after receiving communion and sang. My four-year-old always wants me to hold her during the song time. As she laid her head on my shoulder, I tried to sing loudly so she could hear me-off pitch as I was. When the time comes for her to respond to the Gospel, I want her to know one of the ways she can respond with worship. We get to respond to God’s salvation with celebrations. So I sang. And I smiled. And later, I rushed around the kitchen in a frenzy with my mom and mother-in-law to get lunch on the table. And we talked about our childhoods. And we ate lots of gooey, delicious chocolate pie. And we drank good, red wine. And we hunted Easter eggs. And we ate too much candy. Even now, I hear them playing musical chairs in the living room with Daddy. They are still celebrating as I am here writing this! And I really do want to go celebrate with them again before today ends.
My prayer for you and me today is that we will remember to have fun too. I pray that as we labor through motherhood, doing our best to accomplish all we must in order to care for and love our brood, that we will remember the work that is already finished through Christ, and rejoice! I pray that on the dark days when we would rather not face the day, and we certainly don’t feel a party coming on, we would remember our Hero, who didn’t just face death to save us, but conquered it forever. I pray that we would celebrate often and hard, so that when we go to be with Jesus, we will know how to behave.
After this I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to God…Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory…” Revelation 19:1-7