I love celebrating things! I love celebrating events and people and just life in general! I particularly love celebrating things using a theme that fits the occasion!
I have long been into celebrating Christmas in a big way – on the first of December my hubby will take the day off work (if it’s not a weekend day) and we’ll spend the day transforming the house till it’s bursting with Christmas joy!
In the last couple of years I have started to celebrate Easter more too because since the pandemic started I think the more celebrating and joy the better, but even more importantly I’ve been thinking about how Easter is the most important event in the Christian calendar, and I want to show that by how I celebrate it.
Showing our joy at what Jesus has done
I have started celebrating Easter in a bigger way but throughout my life I have always enjoyed celebrating Easter with the normal Christian traditions – Good Friday and Easter Sunday services as well as some extra traditions – Hot cross buns, chocolate eggs, and dressing for the occasion (black on Good Friday and radiant colours on Easter Sunday).
How we show our joy over something varies from person to person and we should aim not to match our joy to someone else’s level but to our personal level when we are at our most joyful.
I love celebrating things and decorating and making a big deal, so I felt that I should do that about Easter so that people could see just how much it meant to me.
Can Christians embrace secular traditions?
Once I realised that I wanted to be able to express my joy over Easter by making a big deal of it, I had to think through how much I should include the secular parts of Easter – bunnies and chocolate and Spring.
I realised several important things while doing this – Firstly God is the God of everything, he is the God of the Cross and the empty tomb and our Resurrection life but he is also the God of bunnies and flowers and Cocoa trees!
Everything comes under God’s rule and is part of his creation so when we see bunnies or flowers or eat chocolate we can be reminded about how kind God is to give us all these wonderful things.
As it says in 1 Corinthians chapter 8, verse 6, “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.”
God is a God of joy!
Secondly, God is not a stingy God and we don’t want to represent him as such. Christians should be the most joy-filled people (not constantly happy of course!) because we have the best reason to be joyful!
We have the wonderful news of God’s love and mercy and solution to sin and death! We know that mercy and justice met at the cross where Jesus took the punishment we deserved, so that we might be reconciled to God and inherit eternal life!
In Nehemiah chapter 8, the book of the law (God’s word) is read out to the people for the first time in a long time and the people are overcome with emotion and begin weeping.
In Nehemiah chapter 8, verse 10 “Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Nehemiah says that the day is holy but he also says they don’t need to be sad, they can instead celebrate with delicious food and drink and sharing with others.
Another example of God’s provision of things to bring us joy is from the garden of Eden, God didn’t need to make beautiful butterflies and breath-taking birds nor did he need to make food that was delicious but he did all that and more.
In Genesis chapter 2, verse 9 it records, “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
All the trees were pleasing to the eye and good for food. The garden was a place of abundance, abundant relationship with God, abundant life, abundant blessings in food and beauty!
Abundant life, abundant Easter!
In John chapter 10, verse 10 it says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
In the Garden of Eden, Eve (and Adam) were foolishly deceived into thinking that God didn’t want the best for them and didn’t want them to have abundant joy.
We can also be foolishly deceived that God doesn’t want us to have abundant joy but instead a solemn, serious, nose to the grindstone type of Christian life. Yet this is not so! Jesus came so we can have life and have it abundantly!
We can celebrate the holy parts of Easter and the ‘secular’ parts of Easter because not only did God create them all, but he wants us to take joy in them and celebrate with exuberance!
Let’s be known as people who exude joy because we have the most amazing reason to – being reconciled to the King of the universe and getting to be his sons and daughters forever! If that joy spills over to bunnies and flowers and chocolates, then that’s just another lovely way of enjoying God’s wonderful blessings!
Jessica McPherson lives with her best friend and husband, Eoin and their family of rescue animals in Christchurch. She loves reading, writing, photography and scrap-booking but most of all sharing God’s love and truth with a hurting world. Jessica is particularly passionate about encouraging children and building them up in gospel truth.