When Easter Comes on April Fool’s Day
This is an exciting time of year because Easter comes on April Fool’s Day.
I understand we are still in the liturgical season of Lent, preparing for Easter. Some people get concerned about not jumping the gun. They want us to stay focused on Lent, and Holy Week, so we do not start celebrating Easter too early.
We may need more time to prepare and make sacrifices before we can really appreciate Easter.
Some people are concerned Easter has been changed from a spiritual holiday into a financial one. They worry we miss Easter’s deeper meaning with bunnies and baskets, candy and eggs. We can get distracted from the real power of Easter when it is buried in other things.
It is important we give this week the respect it is due and not miss the point of Easter. We need to take time and reflect on what makes these days important to us.
At the same time, I am not certain we need to divide how we experience our days so dramatically.
Lent is important to me. I appreciate the opportunity to prepare for Easter and to clear unnecessary things from my life.
There are days when I spend time both clearing and celebrating. I do not believe reflecting and celebrating are mutually exclusive.
It can be helpful to intentionally schedule times for celebrating and for reflection. Even our organized calendars cannot separate when it is the right time for revelry or for contemplation.
Any day can be the day to let go of what we do not need, what does not help us. Every day can give us time to remember and celebrate.
This combination of celebration and reflection is clearer when Easter comes of April Fool’s Day.
Why is it Important When Easter Comes on April Fool’s Day?
April Fool’s Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the significance of fools.
It can be helpful, before we each launch our elaborately planned practical jokes, to make sure we remember the importance of fools.
Fools have a long history as privileged people of responsibility. Throughout our history, fools have held a protected position in royal and noble households. They had license not only to amuse but also to criticize people in power. Fools had the power to give bad news to a ruler or head of a house which no one else would dare deliver.
A fool’s folly could cleverly communicate deep truths to powerful people in the guise of humor or distraction.
Queen Elizabeth I reportedly rebuked one of her fools for not being sufficiently severe with her. Fools and jesters are central characters in several of Shakespeare’s plays.
The people who inspire me learn deep lessons from fools.
I admire people who value the power of humor and perspective. They appreciate people who help them not take themselves too seriously. The people who inspire me recognize the ironies of life. They enjoy laughing, even at themselves.
I try to follow their example of finding people who will tell me the truth. Each of us is constrained by the limitations of our own ability to see clearly. We each need to give someone the privilege of telling us what we may not want to hear.
We need to trust someone the way a king would trust a fool.
Fools help us pay attention to truths we might otherwise ignore. They combine celebration and humor with reminding us to be mindful and reflect.
What Changes When Easter Comes on April Fool’s Day?
When Easter comes on April Fool’s Day we are not certain what to expect. We may not know exactly what will change, but we can be sure something will not be the same.
Like on the first Easter, wild stories will upend people’s expectations.
I think that is essential to what Easter means. When we begin to take things for granted and assume we know what is happening, things change.
It is ironic, after 40 days of trying to exert ourselves and build new practices, Easter changes everything. We are reminded, even when we try really hard, many things are outside our control. Part of what makes being alive so lively is we cannot tell it what to do or who to be.
We have, in fact, fooled ourselves into thinking we have life sorted out and organized.
It is easy for us to take comfort from what we think we can master and control. One of the core truths of Easter, and April Fool’s Day, is what we do not control gives us life.
Our questions are more interesting, and more important, than our answers.
How Will We Celebrate When Easter Comes on April Fool’s Day?
Obviously, I cannot reveal everything I have planned for Sunday.
It is important, though, we take time for reflection and celebration, for joy and insights. When Easter comes on April Fool’s Day it is not either/or, it is both/and.
This year we will go beyond the usual practical jokes and our standard Easter rituals. I plan to reflect about the wonder of life’s surprises and how they teach and guide us.
There are surprises we probably do not enjoy. Some days it seems like the world is conspiring to play an elaborate practical joke on us. Even those surprises, which can feel like death, can be ways for us to experience new life.
I believe it is important for us to spend holidays in ways which remind us of what they mean. It is easy for us to allow holidays to blend together and become generic.
This year is a tremendous opportunity for us to be creative when Easter comes on April Fool’s Day.
When Easter comes on April Fool’s Day this year, how will we celebrate?
What will we be reflecting on when Easter comes on April Fool’s Day this year?
[Image by Qfamily]
Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and leadership coach in Southern California. He is a recovering attorney and university professor, and a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com, and his email address is StrategicMonk@gmail.com.