I can’t believe Easter is NEXT WEEK! Wow, I feel like it’s come up so quickly. I love Easter! I love the symbolism of it, the reminder it gives of Christ’s love for the World, and I love celebrations with the pastel colors, family dinners, and the candy! It’s hard not to get caught up with all the celebration aspects and forget the real reason we celebrate Easter. I know I struggled with it as I grew up.
My Child Like Mindset
I used to spend weeks trying to find the right dress for Easter. I bulked at my mother’s suggestion that maybe I could wear the same outfit as the year before. I determined every time Easter rolled around it was time for a new dress, and I became anxious whenever we had trouble finding something, or finding the dress but not being able to find shoes and a matching jacket in case of colder weather. I missed the point of Easter. We make such a big deal about focusing on the right meaning of Christmas but I feel like we don’t do the same with Easter. Maybe it’s because it’s easier to think of little baby Jesus sleeping away in the manager than it is to think of Jesus, tortured, bleeding and bruised, hanging on the cross for our sins. But Easter is almost more important to get right than Christmas, and some may not agree with that, but Easter is the climax of the Christian faith, the whole reason for our faith. Easter is the time for those who have accepted Jesus as their savior to celebrate their faith and it’s also the perfect time for those who have yet to experience His saving grace to finally look to the cross and the empty grave and accept Jesus’ gift of salvation. As Jesus said the night He was arrested,
“and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me” 1 Corinthians 11:24
When I put aside worrying about what I’m going to wear on Sunday and focus on who I’m going to be worshipping that morning instead, I will be able to truly appreciate and experience Easter as it should be experienced.
How My Mindset Changed
My mother has been our church’s secretary for around 7 years or more, and recently I joined the team to help with the media and other office tasks they need help with during the week. We get more calls at the office as Easter and Christmas approach about service times and such, and I remember a specific call that changed my outlook on the importance I put to “dressing up” for Easter.
A man came into the office one year and my mother began talking with him, he told her he’d like to come to church on Easter but he didn’t have anything to wear good enough for church. My mother, wearing jeans and a t-shirt that day, told him if she would come as her guest she’d come to church Easter morning dressed as she was, she’d wear jeans and a t-shirt for Easter Sunday morning.
He looked at her and said, “Really?!”
“Really”, she replied.
This man felt like he didn’t have the right clothes to come to church, and not because our church sent out a “black tie only” invite but because it’s just known churches dress “fancy” for Easter.
How many churches have missed out on people coming through their doors and hearing the Gospel because they don’t have the “right thing” to wear? Would more people come to Easter service and stay around for ‘regular Sundays’ if they felt like they could come as they are? It seems like we say they can come as they are, but don’t do things to make them feel like they can.
That year the man called was also the same year we learned about this movement to wear a t-shirt to church on Easter, forgoing the frills and Easter bonnets, to remember the real reason we celebrate. Man, this was hard for me. I loved getting a new dress for Easter, always something flowery and springy! But I had to realize Easter wasn’t for the candy, the eggs, and definitely not for dressing up. Easter is the perfect time to dress down, to come humbly before the cross and dance at the empty grave. We sinners saved by grace need to show sinners yet to experience grace, that you don’t have to be perfect to come to the cross, the whole reason Jesus died on the cross was due to our imperfection. He’s the only perfect one and His perfection offers salvation to any who want it.
Easter morning came and my mom, sister, and I headed to church. We came in a little late, but that’s not why people were staring at us. They were staring because we came dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. We didn’t do it for the looks and the comments, actually, we did it for the complete opposite reason. We did it because Easter isn’t about getting noticed for what we’re wearing, it’s about noticing how Jesus wore our sins on the cross.
All this to say, it’s not wrong to wear a pretty dress for Easter or to church in general but I encourage you to do this self-check:
- Why am I dressing up for Easter?
- Is it out of traditional habit? Is it to get noticed? Neither one of these are good reasons, so maybe reconsider, and pray for a new heart perspective on the matter.
- Am I focusing more on the what I’m going to wear than the who I’m going to worship?
- Remember, the weeks leading up to Easter are just as important, if not more, as the ones leading up to Christmas.
- Will my outfit be a hindrance and distraction to those around me in the service?
- Whether you choose to wear a t-shirt and jeans or a dress with an Easter bonnet, make sure you aren’t doing so to get attention. Easter isn’t a time to make a statement unless it’s a statement of faith.
- “but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother… So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” Romans 14:13b, 19
I want to tell you, since that Easter, I haven’t repeated the t-shirt and jeans look. But what I wear wasn’t what needed to change, my mindset, on what I wore for Easter is needed to change, and I’m so grateful it did. Now I try to celebrate Easter as it’s meant to be and prepare my heart ahead of time by reading the Easter story and reminding myself of the undeserved grace given to me, and everyone who acknowledges Jesus as Lord.