Easter is one of my favorite holidays. Christmas is awesome because it’s, well, Christmas! But, Easter is special on a whole other level.
Growing up, we had very specific things we did as a family for Easter. We never got Easter baskets filled with gifts, toys, and chocolate. In fact, that whole concept was completely foreign to me and to this day, I don’t understand the reasoning behind it. We would get maybe a chocolate bunny or some Cadbury eggs. That was it. My sister and I might get a new dress and I always wore this ridiculous straw hat with a big, white bow to church Easter morning (whatever happened to the tradition of new dresses and hats for Easter?!). Thursday evening before Easter, our church sometimes did a special service with communion to kind of kick-off the holiday weekend. But, Sunday morning was the big hoopla!
We always started Easter morning with getting ready before the sun rose. I remember it being so utterly pitch black DARK out and wondering why in the world we had to get up so early! We would get all dressed up in our Easter finest and Mom would cart us into the church well before dawn (dad was normally there an hour before we arrived). Then, we would bundle up in our winter clothes and head out into the crisp, Vermont spring air outside the church for a short sunrise service. The view behind our church in Vermont is just completely gorgeous – the sun rising over the mountains and the frost still on the ground. Cold, but beautiful. We would sing hymns and then hurry back inside to get warm and fill up on Easter eggs and breakfast breads. Sunday school was followed by a very special Easter service. I played trumpet back in the day and my favorite memory was this one year, two of us (maybe three?) were on trumpets up in the balcony, hiding behind the little half wall. When the congregation hit the chorus of “Lo in the grave He lay…” we jumped up and joined in – “Up from the grave He arose! With a mighty triumph o’er His foes!…” Literally, we had people thinking the rapture was happening and I think half the congregation just quit singing all together!
After church, we would come home and have a lovely Easter dinner, sometimes with friends over, normally just family. One year, my mom splurged (big time for us!) and made lamb. She tried to use some traditional Jewish herbs and my parents tried to explain to us the significance of such things. I remember it was a great meal and still stands out as a favorite Easter.
Did you notice no mention of the Easter bunny or dyeing eggs?! We dyed eggs maybe twice in my entire life. We never talked about the Easter bunny. And like I said earlier, we never had baskets of any such sort. And you know what? I don’t miss any of it.
Easter is not about, nor has it ever been about, a stupid bunny delivering eggs. I mean, what in the world? Easter is a celebration of the fact that Jesus Christ not only died, but ROSE AGAIN from the dead. He conquered death so we don’t have to worry about it! He took our place on that awful cross and died for us, out of love, even while we were still enemies of Him. It was His purpose in coming and with that sacrifice, we are free.
So, in the future, my ideas for celebrating Easter with my kids include:
- using one of the days of the week leading up to Easter to do a quasi-sedar meal where we talk through Passover and the significance of everything that happened that night and how it pertains to us today.
- making resurrection rolls with them — a crescent roll with a marshmallow inside. The basic idea is to talk through the process of baking the roll with the marshmallow inside and then it disappears when it bakes.
- simple things like coloring sheets and talking through the Easter story with them.
- making Easter cards for friends and family.
- possibly doing like an Easter tree where each egg hung on the branch has a part of the Easter story inside of it.
- taking time Friday and Saturday to talk about what happened on each day and reading the corresponding story in the Bible.
- family meal Sunday after church.
Easter is the building block of our Christian faith. Without the facts of what we celebrate this weekend, there would be no reason whatsoever for our faith. It matters greatly that Jesus died – but every other prophet/god has died. What matters most is that He did not stay dead! His sacrifice of Himself was acceptable to God the Father, therefore God raised Him from the dead! Praise the Lamb of God who was slain for us! It is finished – for you and for me!