Each year I am tempted to allow Easter to sneak past me without taking time to really enjoy it. That probably sounds strange since it seems like everyone else enjoys Easter: parents, kids, church members—even the unchurched, to a degree.
Even though Easter is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our freedom from sin and death, for too many years I let three things rob me, and consequently others, of Easter joy.
1. Being Too Busy
Church leaders (and parents) can easily work ourselves into exhaustion during the weeks and days leading up to Easter. If we are not careful, we will end up depleted before Easter is even over. I eventually gave myself permission to say “no” to some of the negotiable activities that could fill up my calendar. This gave me some needed margin to say “yes” to those Easter-related events which are essential.
I suggest you keep Easter weekend simple by avoiding the temptation to crowd your church or personal calendar with events. For example, if your church hosts a Good Friday event, let another church in town rock the kid’s event, or vice versa. If you plan on adding a worship service on Easter, consider taking a break from small groups that day.
2. Pursuing Perfection
Five years ago I almost let perfectionism ruin one of the most important Easters of my life. Second Baptist Church in Conway, Arkansas, was having its very first public worship services on our brand new 50-acre campus on Easter morning. I arrived on campus early and noticed several dead oak tree branches laying near one of the primary entrances. I allowed myself to become furious with the staff member who had agreed to take care of it. Acting like a complete idiot, I started dragging those big limbs across the campus in my suit. I was literally sweating the small stuff!
If you are planning for Easter to be executed perfectly, you will end the day both exhausted and frustrated. How ironic is it to practice perfectionism on a day when grace is celebrated? While avoiding the bigger mistakes on this high stakes holiday, be careful not to let the little mistakes sneak up on you and steal your joy.
3. Forgetting the Power
One temptation that mature Christians may face is to read, preach, or teach the resurrection story too casually. This is my 32nd Easter as a pastor—so yeah, I’ve got this story down.
In the next few weeks leading up to Easter, I want to encourage you to read through the gospel with fresh eyes. Retrace the steps of Jesus slowly instead of waltzing casually through it. Ask God to remind you afresh of Jesus’ courageous and sacrificial love. Before you remind your family, church, or unsaved friends how Jesus defeated sin and death, take whatever time you need to remember your own former life of slavery.
The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is a powerful story of redemption and grace. Be sure to practice the grace you preach about this Easter weekend.