Tonight I’m very excited to climb into bed and watch the new episode of Dr. Who. I was gonna skip it, but then I realized that I really would be much more comfortable with my hair clean. And a deep thought came, as they so often do, when my head was stuck in the sink while I was trying to keep the soap out of my eyes and my hair out of the water that wasn’t going down the drain fast enough. It was a thought about Easter. Well, a few thoughts really. Well, it actually started with Christmas because I was thinking about the last Dr. Who episode – the Christmas special – but my thoughts migrate and today’s Easter, so I landed there. Kind of. So these thoughts. As usual, they were unrelated until they blended together into something I never thought of before. And since my cat doesn’t really answer me when I tell her the stuff I think . . . I’m going to tell you.
My thoughts fired as my ears filled with soapy water . . . today is Easter. Why does it feel like any other day? My easy reason for that is that there has been so much transition in my life lately and I’m so exhausted and kind of floating around detached from the world . . . the days are really just blending together. But deep down that reason isn’t good enough for me. So my mind enigmatically shifted to economy…
Capitalism: the economy of America. Make money any way you can. Be creative. Don’t break the law. . . or don’t get caught, anyway.
Entrepreneurship: if you can do it and someone else will buy it, go for it.
Supply and Demand controls us more than anything else in our democracy… if enough people want it one of two things happen: 1) It’s everywhere you look and they sure don’t make it like they used to, or 2) There’s not very much of it and it’s going to whoever pays the most.
These same principles are what make holidays special. Think about it: if Christmas happened every month, no one would care. Even though the marketing strategies work because we DO spend our money, I’ve never heard a single person say, “Awesome! I can start buying Christmas decorations now that Halloween is almost here!” In fact, I usually hear the opposite. I have conversations with strangers about it at Target… usually around the time I post on Instagram my strategically angled picture of Halloween, Thanksgiving, AND Christmas junk lined up for us to purchase all in one trip. The cackling plastic candy dish in one aisle competes for my attention with the Here Comes Santa Clause demo CD on the next end cap over while I try to decide if this is the year that I – who has only once hosted an event in which they might be appropriate – purchase autumn-themed napkin rings.
My point: Supply and Demand. Holidays lose their value when we broaden our access to them.
But what about the actual point of the holidays?
Now waiting for the sink to drain so I can rinse my hair it occurs to me that maybe Christmas and Easter really should be like any other days. Yes, they are days to remember and celebrate fantastic events, great sacrifices of love that God made for us. I don’t discount that at all. But that’s just it: holidays are about celebration. Celebration happens with people. It’s an event. If I want to get really controversial and philosophical I could say that holidays are just justified days off. I won’t go there. God set up a whole lot more holidays than we have on our Roman calender, and I like holidays.
But really. Christmas and Easter are days to REMEMBER. But what’s to stop us from remembering every single day??? And if we did take the time to remember in awestruck wonder every single day that Jesus came and was and died and lived . . . well, wouldn’t Christmas and Easter be like every other day then? (Except for the people and food and traditionally accepted pagan adaptations, of course…)
And by the time I was toweling off my hair I was asking myself if being so excited to watch Dr. Who on this perfectly ordinary night that happens to be Easter means 1) That I walk in such awareness of God’s presence in my life that today’s celebration is normal for me, or 2) That I’m not dialed in because I haven’t spent enough of myself to fuel the joy I should be feeling.
If I’m going to be completely honest, it’s more the second choice for me right now. I’m tired. Bone-dead tired in mind, body, and soul. Which is why I am so glad that my new pastor said from the pulpit today that it’s okay. Jesus knew Peter was going to wimp out, and he loved him anyway. He knew his buddies were going to fall asleep, but He still went back for them. Because that’s how we humans are. We get tired so easily. We forget so quickly. We’re distracted by every butterfly. Jesus loves us anyway. He chose us anyway. That’s why he set up SO MANY holidays (seriously – read Deuteronomy). To remind us. To knock us back into reality. To remind us that this is how we are, and that He loves us anyway.
Happy Easter, all you delightfully imperfect humans! Walk in peace, knowing that you don’t need to be perfect. There is therefore now no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus. Today we get to remember that Jesus took care of that little detail for us. And, maybe, if – by the grace of God – we devote all the resources and treasures that one little fact of immeasurable grace deserves, we will keep remembering every day. But if you do forget, just remember that God knows your humanity and your heart… and gave us Christmas.