When I was a little girl I got more excited about my new Easter outfit than I did about Easter baskets or even Easter candy. My family wasn’t religious, though they sent me to (Presbyterian) Sunday School. But we did go to church on Easter, and I loved having new clothes for that day. Back then — in the ’50’s — a new outfit included shoes, hat, and gloves.
The outfit I remember best was a purple and white gingham dress with a purple corduroy coat to match. My mom made them both; she probably didn’t finish the coat until Saturday night (there’s a trait I inherited!), but I loved the ensemble and couldn’t wait to put it on.
The truth is that I still like to have new clothes for Easter. Putting on new clothes is a simple way to embody the restoration of life that we celebrate in the Resurrection. In our Minnesota climate, Easter clothes are often the first light, bright garments we have worn for a long time. Furthermore, the whole process of shopping for Easter clothing brings a sense of anticipation for the coming holiday.
And no (if you are thinking this), enjoying an Easter outfit does not trivialize the theological centrality of Easter to the Christian faith. For me, at least, it is an earthy, incarnational way of bringing the great mystery of Easter into my life. It would be a terrible loss if Easter was only about clothes (or bunnies or eggs or candy, for that matter); but it would also be a terrible loss if Easter was only about solemn Bible study.