The longer I’ve been celebrating and walking through the calendar of the Church, the more I’ve noticed a tendency in me (and, I imagine, in many of us) to feel more at home in the seasons of repentance and preparation than in the seasons of celebration. I'm actually not all that sure how to practice the joy and celebration of the Easter season.
I didn’t grow up thinking of Easter as a celebration that lasts any longer than a day, so this whole notion of Eastertide, marking Christ’s resurrection for forty-nine more days following the day-long Easter Sunday, is challenging for me. I know how to have a huge meal and break my Lenten fasts. I know how to line the children up and hide the eggs and laugh and take pictures on Easter Sunday.
What I don’t know is how to carry the joy of Easter into Monday, when the world arrives and we all march ourselves back to ordinary life. Work demands us. The kids have to be at school. The deadlines are all still waiting. What does it even mean to keep on celebrating, to believe that in this small season, in this glorious moment, we are practicing new life? What does it even look like to practice new life?
Even though I didn’t grow up with Lent, that preparation season comes naturally for me. Take something away! Add a new discipline! There is outward work to do. There is a focus, a celebration to get my soul ready for. Lent makes sense. So why does Easter feel so vague? Why is celebration such a challenge?
On Sunday my pastor said something that’s been moving around in my head this week: “This is not like the resurrection of Lazarus, where you go back to the way things were. This time things are new.”
Yes. Things are very new after Jesus rises from the dead. His body is new. His mission is new. His time on earth is short-lived and intense. His time with his followers is marked by visits, not daily life together. This new life looks different.
Does this season of Easter look different? For me? For us?
Do I know how to celebrate Christ alive-ness in my everyday life? Or do I only know how to discipline myself? How to pray more or do more or release more?
I want to receive Easter. I want to believe that these fifty days actually hold a gift for us within them. I don’t want to be surprised when Pentecost arrives. I want to be ready.
We’re invited to receive the celebration. We’re invited to be ready.
I’d love to hear from you as I’m thinking through this invitation to live Easter’s joy. How do you intentionally practice Easter in your life? Any thoughts for the rest of us? Research under the supervision of internationally distinguished research scientists from multiple different disciplines