• Raising Theologians Blog

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Don't Stress the Dress

Author // Felicia Caid Smith

Reclaiming the Celebration of Easter Sunday

Don't Stress the Dress

For many years, every time the conversation hearts and the Valentine’s Day chocolates went on sale, a feeling of dread would wash over me because I knew Easter was just around the corner.  Don’t get me wrong, I love celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, but unfortunately, our culture has added to it an unnecessary stress and financial burden— the dreaded Easter outfit.  As a child, my mom would go to the store and pick out a new fabric and a dress pattern during the first week of March, and she would spend the next few weeks cutting, sewing, and serging until my sister and I had brand-new, matching hand-made dresses to wear on Easter Sunday morning.  I never really understood the pressure she felt year after year, at least not until I was an adult.               

When I was twenty years old, I started dating the man who would later become my husband, and in the spring of that year, he invited me to meet his parents for the first time at their Easter Sunday church service.  I remember spending weeks looking for the perfect Easter dress with the budget of a college student on scholarship who had no job and a near-empty bank account.  When I finally found a dress I could afford, I had to strategically pin it on both sides because it was a size too large.  I worried the dress wasn’t fitted enough, bright enough, floral enough, or pretty enough, and I spent most of the day feeling self-conscious and underdressed.  And so, it began.  Every year thereafter, I worried about what I would wear to church on that much-anticipated Sunday morning.  But nothing prepared me for how much more stressful the Easter outfit would become once I had children.             

Two kids later, every spring, I now needed to purchase matching suspenders, hats, penny-loafers, pastel button-down shirts, bowties, and slacks, for my little boys.  And I couldn’t forget the coordinating dress for myself and matching shirt and tie for my husband.   The cost was excessive, and the effort was exhausting.  And it was all for what?  So that we could try to meet the impossible Easter standard that has been set for us churchgoers?               

Year after year, I contemplated skipping the Easter service altogether.  “What’s just one Sunday?”  I would think.  Then, one year, my family did it.  We skipped the pressure and the purchasing and the pictures.  We skipped the Easter service and went camping in our ratty old t-shirts and sweatpants.  At first, it felt freeing!  But then, without worship and fellowship, Easter Sunday felt empty and unsatisfying.  I craved church, and I desperately wanted to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection with my family and friends.  That year, I made the decision to stop with all the nonsense once and for all.   My family and I would forevermore wear our regular clothes on Easter Sunday—no more pressure, no more stress, no more lofty price tags.             

But please hear me, there is no shame in enjoying pretty Easter clothes!  If you love shopping for Easter outfits and dressing your family in those adorable coordinating pastels, please do it!  I am not writing to embarrass you or make you feel bad at all!  But perchance you are like me and you do feel the mounting social and financial pressure this Easter season, I just want you to know that you’re not alone, and I want to encourage you to come to church anyway.   Don’t stay home.  Don’t make alternative plans.  When you feel like skipping Easter, just skip the pressure.  Instead of dodging the service, dodge the stress.  Come dressed in whatever is already hanging in your closet, and girl, ce-le-brate!  Worship because the tomb is empty!  Rejoice because JESUS IS RISEN!

"He isn't here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying."
Matthew 28:6, NLT

About the Author

Felicia Caid Smith

Felicia Caid Smith

Felicia is married with two little theologians who have a lot of BIG questions. She is a former history teacher, Sunday school teacher, homeschool mom, and women’s ministry leader. She has a Master of Theological Studies from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a calling to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. When she is not speaking and blogging, she subs at her sons’ Christian school, leads a women’s discipleship group, and sings on the worship team at her church.

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