I'm so thankful that it's not just Easter morning that presents an opportunity to remember that Christ is risen. Every day we have the choice to live out the joyous Easter message.
I love celebrating holidays, but honestly, it's really hard to avoid getting bogged down by the whole Easter package partly because we live in a society that says holidays should look perfect and vogue, shiny and colorful, stunning and impressive -- with magazines, blogs and television shows constantly reminding us.
The Easter package I grew up with as a child, the one that my mother lived out very humbly, was not the Easter we see today. For my mother, the Easter message of love and forgiveness was served up family style to each guest sitting around her table. Yes, she pulled out the special linens and china with a centerpiece of tasty homemade white Easter cake sitting on a pedestal decorated with green dyed coconut for grass and jelly beans as a symbol of life. Even though my mom entertained beautifully, though, she did not entertain perfectly. You see forty years ago, Mom wasn't tempted by all of the glitz we are exposed to today. She didn't have much to compare her "style of entertaining" with.
This is where beautiful and imperfect come in.
We struggle and fight to look good -- for our families to look beautiful on Easter morning, for our food to be gourmet, for decorations and tablescapes to be over-the-top and impressive. I'd say we might be a bit prideful about it all, myself included. But putting this Easter package aside, we have to remember what really draws people together on that day. Is it really Easter bunnies and egg hunts and delicious brunch food and chocolate? Or is it the true message of genuine love and authenticity that we have when we put impressing aside and choose to bless others?
Christ's death and resurrection (the true Easter story) wasn't "pretty" or "hospitable." It was nothing but authentic and real, offering the total gift of Himself and resulting in our ultimate freedom.
In my book, I explain that authenticity is, "relating to or donating an emotionally appropriate, significant, purposeful, and responsible mode of human life." This definition is a perfect reminder to us on Easter because other than the true Easter message, it shows us just how important authenticity is to relationships.
- Authenticity is honest and it doesn't try to needlessly impress others.
- Authenticity attracts other authentic people.
- Authenticity can draw people to you and your family more. It can be "catching."
- Authenticity can create some of the most soulful, loyal friends in life.
Lysa Terkeust says it beautifully in her new book Made to Crave, "We label ourselves and soon lose our real identity to the beaten and bruised fragility we call 'me.' We compare, we assume, we assess, we measure, and most times walk away shaking our heads at how woefully short our 'me' falls when compared to everyone else. How dangerous it is to hold up the intimate knowledge of our imperfections against the outside packaging of others."
I'm encouraging everyone to put the Easter packaging away this year and to simply relish the kind of hospitality my mother taught me almost 50 years ago.
Do you think that being authentic and putting aside "image" is attainable this Easter?
Sandy Coughlin is a mom to 3 teens, wife to one awesome man, and author of The Reluctant Entertainer. She loves to cook and entertain in her home, and look for creative ways to give to those around her. Check out her popular Reluctant Entertainer blog.