I've got the nostalgia bug today.
Let me start by saying that most Sundays are difficult in our family. The kids are thrown way off of their schedules because of us having to attend both church services and we usually find ourselves rushing out the door with exactly 20 minutes to be to church. Those twenty minutes in the van ride are usually spent making sure the girls aren't ripping out their barrettes or losing their socks and shoes, remembering as we pass a Starbucks that I haven't had a lick of breakfast, wondering if we have our Bibles and reassuring Cole this whole time that he will have a wonderful time at church seeing all of his friends and learning about the Lord.
Once we are parked, it's a race to replace the missing socks, shoes and barrettes, grab everyone's different bags and sippys, and attempt to walk in heels (for me, not Jake, of course!) across our parking lot, looking graceful with our own huge lot. Another race ensues as we greet church family while trying to maneuver them at the same time and placing our kids in their appropriate rooms for the morning. Once they are settled, we make a dash for the youth room to do our morning study with the teens.
This Easter Sunday really was no different. Except....it was Easter. From what I remember growing up, Easter Sunday wasn't a sprint out the door for my family. I remember having time to find my Easter basket, which Dad so sneakily hid, and to get to go through my new treats. I remember getting all dressed up and having pictures taken with my sister and Mom and then one again with my sister and Dad. We drove a half hour or a little more to church where we would always sing Christ the Lord is Risen Today as the choir processed and then spent the rest of the afternoon having an Easter dinner at Grandpa and Grandma's, where aunts, uncles and cousins would usually join us. We had rousing Easter egg hunts and we got a whole other set of family pictures there, showing off our Easter dresses (well, I was showing off, Heather was more putting up with it!).
So, this morning, as we were again running late getting out the door and thinking about setting up for pie sales we've had the students fundraising, it hit me that we hadn't gotten a family picture and that we had no where to go once out of church, except back to our home. (And, in my cynicism, I knew we weren't going to sing Christ the Lord is Risen Today! What can I say? I'm a sucker for tradition!). In the midst of families who were preparing for their afternoon feasts, all dressed up in their Easter garb, I received comments like, "You're lucky you get to go home and just relax." Funny, isn't it? How all I really wanted was to have the exact opposite? So, in my usual fashion before God gets a hold of me, I sat in my self-pity that I didn't get the roast in on time for us to have an Easter dinner and that I was going home to an empty house save for the five of us who are here every day. Easter wasn't going to be special.
And then I kept hearing, It's not about them. It's about Me. If you can't be joyous in My resurrection without other people, then you're not thankful for Me. I'd love to tell you that at this second my attitude turned right around, but, sadly, it didn't. However, it has caused me to be thinking all day. Easter is special because of Christ and the victory He had over death. It isn't about a ham dinner, family visits or even the special clothes we wear on this particular Sunday. Those things aren't bad, but do we miss the purpose of this celebration in all of our plans?
Jake and I have decided that we'd like to try and make an attempt to be able to celebrate Easter with family in the coming years and somehow try to bridge the three-hour gap on this holiday. I have to admit, I'm already excited about that. But today I'm praying that I will not lose sight of what Easter really means; how Christ is enough for me and how He longs to celebrate His resurrection with us, even if we're in our jammies and our Easter feast is PB & J.
Christ the Lord is Risen Today! Alleluia! All that matters is that He is rejoicing with us. That makes Easter special.