Why Today (and May Day) is Important To Celebrate In These Difficult Times

When you think of May Day, what comes to mind? Flowers? A maypole? Music? The first day of May? Springtime?

Maybe you’ve never heard of May Day.

Maybe today feels like just another day to you.

So let me share with you how and why today (and May Day) is important to celebrate in these difficult times.

6905, little girl celebrating spring, May Day basket

But first, a tiny bit of history. May Day started as an ancient Celtic holiday which marked the halfway point between Spring and Summer.

In the Middle Ages, in England, where it was mostly celebrated, it was considered a pagan holiday that centered around fertility. They danced around maypoles and sang songs and decorated with flowers and ribbons.

If you want to learn more about the rich history of May Day, check out this post written by the Farmer’s Almanac.

I don’t know when I learned about May Day, but it was a tradition that I taught our daughters to enjoy. We took empty green plastic baskets that strawberries came in from the grocery store (some of you will remember those!) and put Easter grass, flowers and candy inside!

Then, we would put a basket on each neighbor’s front porch, ring the doorbell, and run so they wouldn’t know it was us! We loved this tradition so much because it was fun to bless others with a little joy early in the morning!

4367, a bird's nest, July 2019, making a May Day basket

Fast forward, when our kids left the nest, I wanted to continue the tradition, but running away from someone’s home in the wee hours of the morning looks suspicious! Besides, many people have the “Ring” security cameras at their front doors, so it’s hard to be incognito anymore!

(Side note: At the end of this post, I’ll show you how I now make a May Day basket!)

Let me take a minute and ask you…have you ever been through a rough season? Was it recently? A long time ago? Are you in one now? Does it seem relentless, like the waves are crashing over your head? Did the challenges of the last few years take its toll on you? If so, I hope you’ll join me as I share what God did after a very difficult season in our family.

My granddaughter was born prematurely in May, 2014 which caused a few emergencies and my daughter was struggling with an undiagnosed disease at the time. It was a long season of round the clock care for the baby and months of our daughter adjusting to the diagnosis of a disease we had never heard of.

A year later, when my girls were stable and feeling better, God gave me an idea that transformed the way I think, gave me inspiration and a game plan going forward.

I want to share this with you because if you don’t already have a game plan, you might like to do this same thing, or something similar.

What was the idea? What was the game plan? Well….

On May 1, 2015, I took a brand new journal and I began to write…

“I’ve been praying about a new passion for God to put in my heart and I believe this is the answer to those prayers. The thought came into my mind that each day I would pray and ask God who I can bless and how. I want to be a blessing each day, in some way, and shine the light and love of Jesus Christ and give Him the glory for it.

9419, My May Day journal excerpt

I thought it might be fun to document each day’s idea because I would love to go back some day and see all the wonderful ways He answered that prayer. I believe God is going to do some awesome things!

Today is the perfect day to start because my girls and I used to make May Day baskets for our neighbors….this feels sort of like the very same thing…fill someone’s life with joy, only don’t ring the doorbell and run!!

My intention here is not only to celebrate the beauty of May Day, but it also conjures up the term “Mayday” in my mind. Mayday is a call for help made by pilots when they can tell their aircraft is going down and they need help.

(Side note: my brother in law actually made a “Mayday” call in March 2018, when the single engine failed in the plane he was flying. Oil from the engine spewed all over his windshield making it impossible to see out the windshield. The air traffic controller helped him treat the aircraft like a glider and he almost made it to his destination. However, he hit the trees and his plane crashed. He sustained a bad ankle injury, but the Lord spared his life! So I praise the Lord often for that miracle, and yes, he still flies planes today.)

People need help and encouragement too, and I’m praying God uses me to help others and point them to Him. But, I also hope it helps change me and mold me into the person He wants me to be. I can’t wait for this journey to begin!”

And you know what? When you bless others, you’ll be blessed as well. I know when I’ve been down or discouraged, or I’ve been through a challenging season in life, one of the best remedies is blessing someone else. And the bonus is that you are blessed too!

Here are a few examples from the journal I’ve kept…

That very first day, May 1, 2015, my first entry read….

“As I reflected on our many years of leaving May Day baskets in our old neighborhood, and the joy it still brings to our hearts, I prayed for the first recipient and God immediately reminded me that today is Aunt Barb’s wedding anniversary. (She had been a widow for 14 years at this point.) I thought of going to get her a May Day basket and leave it on her porch, but God gave me another idea. I called and asked her if I could take her to lunch.

When I called, I was so disappointed that she already had plans for lunch. So, I went about doing some chores around the house and then asked God to show me what I should do next; who I could bless.

As I finished praying that prayer, the phone rang! It was Aunt Barb saying that her friend had just called and couldn’t go to lunch. So, we got to go to lunch after all! What a sweet time of being with her as I learned all the details of their early relationship! Her voice cracked as the emotion of the memories flooded back in her mind. She was so delighted to share them with me and I was thrilled to see how happy it made her (and me!).

Another fun thing from that first week of journaling, was an idea God gave me to surprise the NICU nursing staff at the hospital where our granddaughter had been born and stayed for weeks the year before. It was also a surprise for my daughter and son in law. I was due to arrive in their city the next day, so I quickly called a fancy cupcake place and the other set of grandparents. We went out to dinner and then headed to the hospital to celebrate baby girl’s life and the tough year we got through together. It was such a sweet reunion with all the staff and a reminder of the faithfulness of God!

Another time, I was prompted to go to the nursery and buy a mum for an acquaintance’s birthday. I even asked God what color to buy. When I took it to her house, she broke down in tears. She said she had always wanted a mum and this was her favorite color!! I said, “What?? You’re a mum (mom), and you’ve never had a mum?!! She laughed. But, isn’t that just amazing how personal God is?!!

Each entry in the journal looks different. Some entries involved cooking a meal for someone. Some involved sewing. Writing a letter. Visiting a sick or discouraged person. Some entries were unique and unusual. Once, we even got to meet a boy we sponsored through the ministry called Compassion. His birthday is May 1st. Isn’t that amazing?!!!

Every entry in my journal is different because the Holy Spirit prompts us in personal ways to meet personal needs.

One thing I have learned in all these years of walking with the Lord is to act on the prompting of the Holy Spirit! Many times it means talking to the person who is also waiting in line right in front of you at the grocery store or coffee shop. Many people are struggling and fearful and need some encouragement.

Ask God. He will help you know what to say to them!

Invite others to join you too. Have the kids, your spouse or your friends come along so they can see what the Lord does when we ask His help in loving and serving others!

Do you know Jesus? Have you heard the good news of the Gospel? Are you trusting in Him alone for your eternal destiny? If you’ve not heard the Gospel before, please read my post entitled, “Celebrate With Me, It’s Free!”

Just know that May Day doesn’t have to occur every day. You don’t want it to turn into a drudgery or a “check the box” on your to-do list. It’s meant to be a blessing.

It’s meant to help us look outward, away from our selves and circumstances, and focus on God and others.

Be an ambassador of joy!

Try it for a couple weeks and see if God doesn’t just bless your socks off by what He does because of your faith in Him and love for others!

I hope the Holy Spirit is stirring up the same kind of desire in your heart, however that looks, to be a blessing in your sphere of influence. He won’t let you down! Just ask Him and may God bless you on this May Day and every day!


How to make your May Day Basket….

Your May Day basket can be full of anything you choose!

Be creative!

Here’s what I do when I make May Day baskets for neighbors and friends. I start with a flat of flowers. You don’t have to spend alot, but you can if you want to!

6707, A tray full of fresh flowers for the May Day baskets

Then, I download some “Happy May Day” tags from the internet. There are cute ones all over the web. Or design your own using Canva or PicMonkey.

9415, pdf photo of May Day Tags

I also buy some small wooden dowels, some tissue paper to match or coordinate with the flowers, and some small baskets. I usually find them at the dollar store, but you’ve got some great resources yourselves, I’m sure!

6708, the tags, dowels and baskets to make a May Day basket

I put some tissue paper in the baskets and lay a few packs of flowers inside.

Then, I tape a dowel to the back of a tag and poke the dowel into the soil

6711, Happy May Day baskets all on the table

Now they are ready for delivery! Wasn’t that simple?

6725, Happy May Day baskets all done!

Happy May Day to you and yours!!