It is easy to become overwhelmed with all the preparations, to lose sight of the important things, especially in Holy Week when there is so much that "must" be done. A friend who is a recent convert (this will his first Pascha as an Orthodox Christian) laughed at me on Sunday when I said there was so much to do this week. He said - "what is there to do other than go to church?" I laughed and thought - you have no idea how much preparation goes into Holy Week - the cooking, the flowers, etc. But, in reflection - his is the more accurate attitude. What else is there? Yes, there are lots of exciting extras - but they must not become our focus, they are there to help us focus, not distract us. The following sums it up well:
"After the Easter service, the blessing of the eggs, meats , breads, cakes, etc., which are proper to this feast takes place in Orthodox parishes. The custom, in itself, is excellent. It associates the life of the home with the life of the Church. But one cannot protest too much against the deviation which it causes in certain Orthodox countries where many of the faithful are so absorbed with cleaning their houses, the decoration of eggs, the making of cakes, in short, with the material preparations for the feast, that they miss the services. Religion thus becomes an adopted national or familial custom which is no longer animated by the breath of the Spirit."
by a monk of the eastern church - The Year of Grace of the Lord p.206
May we enjoy the preparations, may we benefit from them, may they never cause our absence from services.