Celebration Overload?

Easter is almost here! Time for special church services and Easter baskets; time for remembering Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection, and oohing and ahhing over kids in fancy hats and sweater vests! I love this time of year. Spring is in the air (literally…I’ve been sneezing all day), the trees are budding, flowers are blooming, and it is birthday season at the Mattis house.

Yes, you heard right. I said birthday season. If I’ve seemed a little more MIA than usual, I blame birthday season. Four out of the five of us celebrate birthdays within six weeks of each other. Add my husband’s recent book launch party to the mix and that basically equals a party most weekends for months on end.

For me, this translates into countless trips to Target and Party City for party supplies and gifts, and lots of late nights making cakes and decorating after the kids are in bed (I tend to go a little overboard making my kids’ cakes…time consuming but super fun). Not to mention the paper lists strewn about my kitchen like some new form of recyclable countertop material. (I have been known to make a list of all the lists I need to make…is that weird?) Birthday season is serious, people.

Celebrating my family is a wonderful thing. What’s not so wonderful is when I let the task of celebrating overtake the actual celebration going on in my heart. That’s when things get overwhelming.

I must say, I have made strides in this department (if I do say so myself). I used to obsess over my house and the presentation of things to an unhealthy degree, finding it difficult to truly enjoy the celebration. Letting go of the Pinterest-perfect ideal was beyond freeing. Because, really. When’s the last time you cared if there was a stack of papers on someone’s counter. Never? That’s what I thought.

So even though these days I can maintain my sanity while we celebrate, I still have to take the time to guard my mindset so I don’t get burned out by all the fun. I think the issue boils down to this:

There is a difference between personal celebration versus God-centered community celebration.

If you read through the Bible for any length of time, you’ll quickly realize how much celebrating went on back then. There were festivals and parties to celebrate something-or-other every time you turned around! But the thing is, they had a pretty solid mixture of personal celebrations (weddings, banquets, etc.) and community celebrations which were God-centered.

There’s something different, more fulfilling in my opinion, about celebrating God amongst other believers. Whether it’s a Christmas Eve church service or a family Easter celebration, the goal of celebrating is to remember the amazing things God has done, praise his goodness, and do it alongside others who are likeminded.

Personal celebrations are super fun, and are a great way to break up the often-otherwise mundane days, but they’re just not quite as, I don’t know…rich of an experience.

God clearly lays out an expectation of celebration for us in the Bible. It is good to celebrate! Healthy, even! Celebrations remind us of our blessings and the goodness of God himself. They nourish and revive our weary souls! (As long as we go easy on ourselves with party prep…)

As Easter draws nearer, let’s do an honest examination of ourselves. Are we stressed out trying to make everything just so? Or are we excited to remember and celebrate Jesus’ powerful resurrection with our fellow Christ-followers?

If you fall into the stressed-out camp, let me encourage you. First of all, I’ve been there and I get it. There’s just so. much. to. do. Life can get overwhelming with everything else on top of planning a celebration. But if this is you, stop for a minute. Take a ten minute coffee date with God (or tea, ginger root beer, whatever). Tell him all your worries. Then ask him to steady your heart. Ask his Holy Spirit to fill you with the overwhelming sense of love and peace that only he can give. Receive it.

Then grab your party hat and head into the Easter weekend with a spirit of joy, knowing all that really matters is Jesus crucified and brought back to life as he conquered death and paved a path for each of us straight to Heaven. Happy Easter, friends.

What are your Easter traditions? Are you feeling stressed out or excited this year? Drop me a comment to let me know—I’d love to pray for you if you’re having a hard week!

Quick update on me: My manuscript, Power Up, is still in the editing phase. I’d like to say “final” editing phase, but I don’t want to jinx it. 😉 Let me tell you, this whole route to publishing has been a learning experience like I never imagined. The last word I heard from my publisher is that they were hoping for a May release date, but that’s seeming more and more unlikely. The cover artist is supposed to be working on the cover art this month, which is exciting! I can’t wait to see what they come up with. I’ll keep you posted. I can’t believe this book will soon be a reality—pray with me that it will be instrumental in changing the lives of 8-12 year olds! Thanks again for taking this journey with me.

6 thoughts on “Celebration Overload?

  1. You always manage wonderful celebrations. We all feel well loved. But your point is a great one: celebrating at the expense of restful worship should frighten us.

  2. Thanks, Chip! And yes, I think the point of all celebration is to be restful, though it all too easily becomes the opposite!

  3. My hubby is much more of one to stress over gatherings than I am. Especially where children are involved. Other people’s kids are unpredictable and he has a very hard time with that. Anyway, I just love having lots of people around chatting and enjoying each other’s company. I don’t ever think of all the things we need, or what needs to be done, and that adds to his stress, unfortunately. I’m an extrovert! What can I say! I do like the house to be generally clean (at least the rooms that will be seen), but perfection is not the goal. Just, well, clean.

    We don’t have Easter traditions beyond going to church. I think we will try to make it to lunch at hubby’s Granny’s house this year, and maybe go to an egg hunt Saturday. I do want to make time to really focus on the meaning of Easter with the kids as they are getting to an age where they might understand it’s about Jesus not bunnies.

    Happy Easter, Jessie and Chip!

    1. Yes, Nicole, I’m sure personality type does have a lot to do with it — good point! I’m kind of with your hubby as far as other people’s kids go, lol. I’m trying to be more easy going like you though! Church and a meal with family sounds perfect. Have a great Easter and best of luck teaching the kiddos the real meaning of Easter!😊💕

  4. Jessie, what an important article. Oh my, how easy it is to get caught up in the logistics or celebrations or even the celebration itself and completely gloss over the source or reason we celebrate. Lord have mercy. Pausing to pray is key. It changes everything. I’m praying the Holy Spirit will draw me back again and again each day, because as Christians we have a reason to shout and sing every single day! Jesus is alive! And because He is so are we!

    1. Yes, Melissa, and thank you for sharing your thoughts! Pausing to pray (sometimes over and over again) is definitely key.
      And I absolutely agree – we need to keep going back to our Source in order to remember that every day is a day to rejoice in our Savior!

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