Easter Festivities

Easter and Advent are the two pivotal Christian celebrations in the church year, so we obviously want our families to honor and commemorate these days in a manner worthy of the great events they mark. Though our secular society also marks these days, we want the tone of our own celebration of these holidays (holy days) to be established by our worship services,  the centerpieces of the festival. In other words, our family celebrations are secondary; the worship is central. So this means we have the pleasure of creating traditions, carrying on old traditions, and enjoying the way we each celebrate with our families in our homes. The church does not mandate how we do this. So since someone asked, let’s start talking about a few Easter traditions.

As I’ve already said, Easter celebration begins with worship. For all my life, Easter Sunday meant new clothes for church, and I still like the symbolism of newness and resurrection in wearing new clothes. It’s not just about the “Easter parade.” New garments  or special clothing has long been a way of signifying the importance and solemnity of the day. So our kids always had new Easter clothes each year. When I was a kid, the “Easter outfit”   included a hat, gloves, and a corsage from Dad! But for our own kids it was simplified. So for me (thanks to my sweet parents), the thought of not having an Easter outfit is sort of like not having a Christmas tree. Simply isn’t done.

The Easter eggs and the candy are plain old fun,  and I’ve heard many attempts to justify or condemn them over the years. I don’t know how these things got started, but I think the Easter egg is brilliant. I can’t think of anything more fun for the kids than coloring the eggs and then hunting for them! Children make all our celebrations more delightful. And having an Easter egg hunt keeps us from becoming too self-serious. At the same time, we never invited the Easter Bunny to our hunts. We never could figure out how he got involved in the first place. So the kids never thought a large rabbit came in our home to hide the eggs. Doug and I had such fun hiding them, and such good laughs watching the kids search around for them, I just don’t see how to improve on this great cultural tradition. I love it just as it is.

Our feasting around our own tables in our own homes is the logical extension of the Lord’s Supper, which we celebrate together in the worship service.  Easter Dinner is the overflow. And no religious celebration would be complete without a feast. This year Bekah is in charge of the menu, and she will be filling you in with some of the details in future posts. But I will tell you that today we bought two boneless legs of lamb (and a ham), and her recipe for the lamb involves the grill, rain or shine.  My Easter tables involves white tablecloths, and I break out as much of the china, crystal, and silver as is wise and reasonable, or as much as will go around.

Besides the eggs and the clothes and the feast and the jelly beans, the last couple years we  have begun the GREAT WIND-UP TOY RACE. Each child brings a wind-up toy and the dads supervise the competition. It is the grand finale. Quite providentially today, I just happened to come across the box of wind-up toys from last year’s competition, so we are set to go again.

Whatever you do this Easter to celebrate the Great Day, may the Lord pour out blessings and joy in great measure on your house and on your heads!

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12 thoughts on “Easter Festivities

  1. Thanks for these ideas. I’ve been wondering about things to do to make Easter a bit more special and less tacky than the commercialized bunny!

    And Bekah, please post photos when you fill us in on the details of the feast!

  2. Thanks for this and the “rainy day” post! So encouraging. :) My mom always made us little Easter baskets that were sitting by our places at the breakfast table, filled with candy and fun little gifts (necklaces and notepads mostly, since we were both girls!)

  3. Thanks for making a post on Easter! It helps to hear others’ traditions – gets the creative juices going. :) I went out last night and bought a lovely new white tablecloth with spring flowers for our Easter feast table. Hopefully that will be just the beginning of paying more attention to making Easter memorable.

  4. I admit that though I’ve been married for 22 years, I’ve never been very happy with our Easter celebrations~~or lack of them. For most of that time we went to a church that paid very little attention to the church calendar. Easter was barely recognized. Plus, we don’t live near family, so it’s been just the four of us (now three since our oldest has gotten married and moved away). Once we went to church, looked at the Easter baskets, and had the egg hunt, I just didn’t know how to fill the rest of the day. Now we are Lutherans, and Lutherans make a Big Deal out of Easter and Lent too. Our celebration on Easter morning will start at 7:30 and end about noon or shortly thereafter, but with just the three of us I *still* don’t know how to celebrate in the afternoon. Our remaining child is too old for the egg hunt, though we will do still the basket. Everyone else we know has family to celebrate with, and no one seems to realize that we don’t and include us in theirs. I know this sounds whiny, and I don’t mean for it to be, but I’m always at such a loss what to do. I’d love suggestions.

  5. Since I married into the Armenian culture from Istanbul, I have had a completely different Easter Day. After church we go to each of the other family members’s homes (all older than my husband) to greet them with “Christ has risen from the grave!” And the answer is “Blessed is the resurrection of the Christ!” Then we sit around for an hour or so eating Easter bread and boiled eggs, until we need go to another sister’s or aunt’s house and eat more eggs. The sad part is that since family is all another direction from church, if we want some regular food we need to stop for a hamburger somewhere. Since only some of my sisters-in-law are staying home to receive all the guests, we keep running into the same people from house to house. But the fun part with the eggs, that works with adults, is to have strongest egg competitions. The challenged holds his eggs in his hand with just one tip showing. The challenger takes the tip of his egg and taps the other egg. The egg that doesn’t break wins. Then others challenge till you have an overall winner. Then of course the cracked eggs are eaten. Traditionally all Easter eggs were dyed red to symbolize Christ’s shed blood. They would use red onion skins in the boiling water to make them red.

  6. Hi there. I was wondering, if you could direct me to some resources about discipline in the home, specifically, the older child.

    I am writing a (rather lengthy) series on godly discipline on my blog after having quite a few requests from family/friends/church members/bloggers about doing so and as a reaction to seeing Christian families consistently dropping the ball. (If you are interested in reading Part 1 and Part 2 go here: http://www.zeahrenaissance.blogspot.com (There are several more parts yet to be published.)

    I have studied the subject since before I was married and did not stop after I began having children . My actual experience, however, is with the younger years.

    At the end of the series I am going to be posting a selection of book recommendations for my readers: your very own Building Her House (which incidentally, I bought half dozen of and gave them as gifts because I enjoyed it so much-thank you!), Withhold Not Correction by Bruce A Ray, Christian Living in the Home by Jay Adams and Proverbs for Parenting by Barbara Decker. If you have any other worthwhile resources, I would love to hear them and pass them on.

    In all my reading on the subject, I have found very little about preteen/teenage years. I realize that much of this is due to a foundation for self discipline being laid in the early years but I wonder how one addresses issues within the older age group. At what age is spanking no longer appropriate? What is the appropriate substitution? For example~ sending a teen to their room seems an awful lot like Time-Outs to me, and time-outs are really just breeding grounds for bitterness. I am eager to find answers to these questions not only for those who might ask them of me, but also because if the next six years go as quickly as the first six in my oldest girls’ life, then I need to figure these things out quickly!!

    Thank you for any help you might offer.

    and

    HAPPY EASTER! (I am stitching away at some coordinated Easter finery for the family this very week!)

  7. We’re still figuring out our own Easter traditions, but we have found a few “keepers” over the years:

    Last year I made a batch of hot cross buns on Good Friday, and the recipe turned out to be so enormous that the only logical thing to do with the extra 2 dozen rolls was to distribute them to the neighbors. This also provided an easy opportunity to meet the ones we didn’t know, to remind them that Easter was coming, and to welcome them to our church. (None of them came, but it still has made for ongoing friendly relations with the folks in the houses all around us.)

    For Easter, we always enjoy the usual egg decorating and baskets of goodies, but we also extend the celebration through all of Easter Week by starting every day with a little surprise on the kids’ plates when they wake up for breakfast. (Think stocking stuffers, and you’ve got the idea.)

    We try to have plenty of people over for dinner throughout the week as well, starting the meal with a resurrection toast and an Easter hymn.

    Now if only Spring Break could always coincide with Easter Week, then we’d really be able to celebrate in style!

  8. Thanks for the fun post, so excited to hear what others are doing to prepare! I have had the honor of hosting our Easter celebration for the last two years and am thrilled to be preparing again for this Sunday.

    Since (like many of your readers) I am at the young children stage of life (4 at 5 and under) being prepared and organized is key to it being a truly joyful and celebratory day. I’m so excited that as I have been teaching my children about Holy week God has started the work of preparation and anticipation in my own heart for Sunday.

    So today I finalized the menu both for myself and to be able to let my guests know what they can contribute (Everyone loves to make something special and two of the guests are bachelors who are always happy to bring wine.) I then did a mini spring cleaning/de-clutter of my kitchen so it will be ready for heavy cooking later in the week as well as serving as the buffet area on Sunday.

    For the rest of the week I am trying to plan fun preparation activities that will include my children as well, baking decorated egg sugar cookies, making the table center piece for Sunday, prepping the special new clothes, etc.

    I’d love an idea for fun placecards that the kids could help make, anyone have a suggestion?

  9. Thanks for a look into your Easter! I love the idea of cooking lamb for Easter, but everyone I tell about it seems like it would be crazy to do such a thing. I think that lamb is just so rare of a thing to eat that people snub their noses at it, but I love the symbolism.

  10. Mrs. Wilson,
    Thanks for the ideas and especially the encouragement!
    To Rebecca,
    The best books on raising children are by the Wilsons! Read Standing on the Promises by Doug and Praise Her in the Gates: The Calling of Christian Motherhood by Nancy. Also a favorite of mine is Future Men by Doug Wilson. I read and re-read this all the time. My children are young teens and I have been reading these books for ten years. I read your series and it sounds great so far! Good luck!

  11. Another Christian blog (168hours.blogspot.com) I read is running a short series on ideas for creating family traditions for Easter. Nicole, the blog’s author, has asked her readers to contribute how their family marks Easter as well. You will find the posts so far at:
    http://168hrs.blogspot.com/2010/03/from-archives-christ-focussed-easter.html

    http://168hrs.blogspot.com/2010/03/easter-traditions-giveaway-1.html

    http://168hrs.blogspot.com/2010/03/easter-traditions-giveaway-2.html

    http://168hrs.blogspot.com/2010/03/easter-traditions-giveaway-3.html

    Wishing you a very Happy Easter.

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