As a small girl, I looked forward to Easter—not because of what Easter meant, but because it meant I was going to get a new dress – and new shoes – and a new hat. I couldn’t wait to parade into church to show off my new frock to the other little girls in my class. Prim and proper with bows in my long braids right down to my patent leather shoes; Mom made sure of that. The girl who showed up with last year’s dress received pointed fingers and giggles. The competition was fierce, and it wasn’t even a contest.
Time has not changed much. I still see little and big girls alike prancing to church in their new dresses and shoes, soaking up admiration of onlookers. The latest in style is a must-have for the fashionably well-dressed. But not all are able to afford something new and opt for rummage sale hats and sparkly slippers one size too big. A teenage girl sporting cute six-inch wrap-around sandals hopes to capture the boys’ attention, but visibly each step brings great pain. Some women try too hard to keep up with the younger crowd and end up looking like grandmothers in teenage clothes that do not fit. The price of style? The cost of being noticed or accepted? Has the meaning of Easter been replaced by a fashion show or an Easter parade? Do the garments of Easter mean anything?
The clothes worn by Jesus that first Easter were simple. He wore a crown made of thorns and nothing more, suffering humiliation and pain while He hung on a cross, bearing the weight of sin for all mankind. He died because of His great love for us; He took our place. Taken down from the cross, He was wrapped in a shroud. Wrapped in swaddling clothes at birth– wrapped in a shroud at death. These were His Easter clothes.
It doesn’t matter to God what is worn on the outside – it is what clothes the heart that is important. Jesus came to offer his shroud to those in need. He wants to wrap his robe of righteousness around us; not only to cover the flaws, but to wash the heart clean. When that gift is accepted, we are covered by his love and forgiveness. When God looks at my heart, he sees the righteousness of Christ. I don’t have to worry about competing in a fashion contest if I am clothed with the garment Christ provides. And, in the end, that is all that matters.